Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

The University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law will bestow the 2016 Brandeis Medal on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. 

The medal is the law school’s highest honor and is awarded to people who champion the ideals of individual liberty, concern for the disadvantaged and public service. The award is a tribute to Louis D. Brandeis, a former U.S. Supreme Court justice from Louisville and namesake of the law school.

Kagan’s appointment to the high court by President Barack Obama was confirmed by the Senate in 2010 to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. She is the youngest sitting justice and her resume includes legal counsel and advisor to President Bill Clinton, Harvard Law School’s first female dean and the nation’s first female solicitor general. Kagan is the court’s 112th justice and fourth female justice.

To make her Louisville visit even more special, she traces her Supreme Court seat to Justice Brandeis: When Brandeis resigned, he was replaced by Justice William Douglas. When Douglas resigned, he was replaced by Justice John Paul Stevens. And when Stevens resigned, his seat was filled by Kagan.

“It’s an honor to confer this award on Justice Kagan,” said Brandeis School of Law Dean Susan Duncan. “In addition to tracing her seat on the Supreme Court to Justice Brandeis, her work in the areas of individual freedoms, equal opportunity and human rights reflects his life’s values. She’s also a great role model for our students because of her well-deserved reputation as a brilliant legal scholar and writer.”

Kagan will receive the medal Sept. 15 at a public event that starts at 6 p.m. in the ballroom of the Seelbach Hilton Hotel, 500 S. Fourth St. The cost is $100 per person. Registration is available until Sept. 12 and can be done online.

Kagan is the sixth Supreme Court justice to receive the Brandeis Medal since its inception in 1982. Others have included Justice Harry Blackmun (1983), Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (1992), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2003), Justice Stephen Breyer (2004), and Justice John Paul Stevens (2013). 

The Brandeis Medal was established to recognize individuals whose lives reflect Justice Brandeis’ commitment to the ideals of individual liberty, concern for the disadvantaged, and public service. The medal is cast in the likeness of Justice Brandeis as a reminder of his contributions and dedication to the law. 

Bethany Daily
Bethany Daily is the director of communications for the Brandeis School of Law. She is responsible for both external and internal communications geared toward a variety of audiences, including faculty and staff, students, alumni and prospective students. Before coming to Brandeis, Daily was the associate editor at Louisville Business First, a weekly business journal. In that role, she was responsible for special publications and managed awards and recognition programs. Daily also has worked at the national headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the communications department.