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Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan To Receive U of L Brandeis Medal

Elena Kagan
Courtesy U of L

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will be honored this week by the University of Louisville law school.

Kagan will receive the 2016 Brandeis Medal. It’s named for Louis Brandeis, a former justice and law school namesake.

She’ll be in Louisville Thursday, when she’s scheduled to place a wreath at Brandeis’ gravesite at the law school.  Kagan will receive the medal at an evening ceremony at the Seelbach Hotel.

Law school dean Susan Duncan says that’s when Kagan will be interviewed by one of her protégés.

“The person who will be conversing with her, interviewing her is a professor named Justin Walker, who was actually her law student when she was the dean at Harvard," says Duncan. "And he is a former Supreme Court clerk himself.”

This year marks the the 100th anniversary of the nomination and confirmation of Brandeis to the high court, where he served for 23 years.

Duncan says it’s especially fitting that Kagan is getting the Brandeis Medal because her seat on the high court traces back to the man himself.

“Brandeis resigned and then Justice William Douglas, I believe, was the next person in that seat," she says. "And then actually, John Paul Stevens had it. Then she, of course, took over his seat so she does have a direct trace to Brandeis’ seat.”

Several Supreme Court justices, including current members Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer have received the Brandeis Medal.

U of L says it’s awarded to people who champion the ideals of individual liberty, concern for the disadvantaged and public service.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.