Although people love to talk about the swing vote, the truth is that every Supreme Court Justice has but one vote to cast and eight colleagues. What makes a Justice particularly influential is the ability to persuade the others to agree, and that depends on the effectiveness of the Justice’s reasoning. In that respect, Elena Kagan has what it takes to be a highly influential Supreme Court Justice. She has demonstrated herself to be an incisive legal thinker, both in her written opinions and in her questions from the bench. She is also an excellent communicator with the kind of crisp and direct style that will make her persuasive not only among her colleagues but also among the Court’s broader audience. These traits will make Justice Kagan an important voice on the Court for decades to come.
O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, is a retired Justice and the founder of iCivics.org
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