As often happens for new justices, Kagan was assigned to write her first decision in a less-than-blockbuster case, Ransom v. FIA Card Services, a bankruptcy dispute over which routine expenses debtors can deduct from their monthly income and thereby keep out of the hands of creditors. Kagan managed to make it interesting nonetheless, with the non-technical, very accessible summary she read from the bench for spectators.

Kagan ruled against the debtor, and in favor of the credit card company. She was joined by all her colleagues except for dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia, thus depriving her of the unanimity that the Court tries to achieve for a justice’s opinion-writing debut.

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