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Obama fetes Kagan at White House

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Obama fetes Kagan at White House
U.S. President Barack Obama congratulates Elena Kagan, who was confirmed by the Senate yesterday as the newest Supreme Court Justice, in the East Room of the White House in Washington on August 6, 2010. Kagan will be sworn in tomorrow and officially installed on October 1. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Friday feted Elena Kagan, one day after she was confirmed as the 112th U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Kagan, who most recently served as Obama's solicitor general and is a past dean of Harvard Law School, had her nomination confirmed Thursday by the U.S. Senate on a 63-37 vote.

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"I think we can all agree that 'Justice Elena Kagan' has a pretty nice ring to it," Obama said.

Also attending the White House reception were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, who told Obama they would look out for their new colleague.

"Justice Kennedy assured me that he would keep Justice Kagan out of trouble and Justice Ginsburg assured me that she would get Justice Kagan into trouble. So we'll see how that works out," Obama said.

Obama thanked the Senate Judiciary Committee for giving Kagan a fair hearing.

Obama praised Kagan as someone whose fans include former President Bill Clinton, Judge Abner Mikva, Ken Starr and Justice Antonin Scalia.

"These folks may not agree on much but they've all been impressed, as I have, by Elena's formidable intellect and path-breaking career -- as an acclaimed scholar and presidential adviser, as the first woman to serve as dean of the Harvard Law School and most recently as solicitor general. They admire how, while she could easily have settled into a comfortable practice in corporate law, she chose instead to devote her life to public service. They appreciate her even-handedness and open-mindedness and her excellent -- and often irreverent -- sense of humor," Obama said.

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Kagan was to be sworn in Saturday by Chief Justice John Roberts. She would be the third woman on the current court and the fourth overall.

"Tomorrow, I will take two oaths to uphold this solemn obligation: one, to support and defend the Constitution; and the other, to administer justice without respect to persons, to the rich and poor alike," Kagan said.

"Today, Mr. President, I will simply say to you and to everyone here and across the nation that I will work my hardest and try my best to fulfill these commitments and to serve this country I love as well as I am able."

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