Kagan, Sullivan Reported to Be Considered for Obama SG Slot:
Bloomberg reports, via Leiter's Law Reports:
  The first female deans of the Harvard and Stanford law schools are the top candidates to serve as Barack Obama’s voice at the U.S. Supreme Court, according to people familiar with the selection process.
  Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, 48, and former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan, 53, are the two leading contenders for the position of solicitor general, a position informally known as the “tenth justice.” . . .
  Kagan became a top candidate for solicitor general after being passed over for deputy attorney general, a slot set to go to Washington lawyer David Ogden, people familiar with the selection process said.
  I don't know either Kagan or Sullivan well, but from what I know I would think either would make an excellent Solicitor General. Sullivan has more litigation experience: The article notes that Sullivan has four prior Supreme Court arguments, while Kagan has had none. Indeed, if the Westlaw ALLFEDS database is correct, Kagan has never had her name on a Supreme Court merits brief, and the last federal appellate brief with her name on it was in 1990 when she was an associate at Williams & Connolly.

  At the same time, my sense is that this relative lack of practical experience is not so unusual when an Administration picks an academic as SG. Very few law professors have notable litigation experience, and those that do usually have most of their experience from the period before they became academics. When Harvard Law School Professor Charles Fried was picked in the Reagan Administration, for example, his first argument to any court ever was as Solicitor General. [UPDATE: Aptly named commenter Corrections points out that Fried had his first argument earlier in the year he became SG, when he was briefly a Deputy SG.] And even when an Administration picks a practitioner, a lack of Supreme Court argument experience is not so uncommon: My recollection is that Seth Waxman had never argued before the Court when he was named SG in 1997. In any event, it will be very interesting to find out who Obama selects.