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Harvard Law School on Thursday named Elena Kagan, a scholar and former aide in the Clinton White House, as the first female dean in the prestigious school’s 186-year history. Kagan, who has taught at Harvard since 1999, held several jobs in the Clinton administration, including deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council from 1997 to 1999. In 1999, she was nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but the Senate did not act on the nomination and it expired when Congress adjourned in 2000. “When an important position like this is held by the first woman, it’s a milestone,” Kagan said in a telephone interview. “It’s actually very nice that at Harvard it’s happening on the 50th anniversary of women’s admission to the law school. That said, it’s happened at other law schools before.” Kagan replaces Robert C. Clark, who will retire in June after 14 years at the nation’s oldest continuously operating law school. A 1986 Harvard Law graduate, Kagan later served as a clerk to former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. She briefly practiced law before beginning her teaching career at the University of Chicago and then moving to Washington in 1995. Her academic work has focused on administrative law, constitutional law and civil procedure. She said her appointment erased any disappointment she felt when the Senate failed to move her nomination out of committee. “I’m grateful to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” she said. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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