This was an empowering experience, said Leslie-Hunter Gadsden, a classmate of Kagan’s.“We believe that Hunter High is the only school in the country where a brother teaches his sister’s Supreme Court cases,” said Raab during her speech.“You said ‘yes’ and shattered yet another glass ceiling,” Raab told her at the ceremony.Sophomore Alexis Paulin-Edwards called the experience of seeing Justice Kagan speak at Hunter “monumental.”She spoke fondly of Kagan, with whom she shared a Latin class for a few years.
Irving Kagan, her brother, also attended Hunter College High School, and currently teaches social studies there.She called the moment “truly surreal— an out of body feeling.”Moore particularly admires Kagan’s honesty about the work she’s put in to get to where she is today, and her frankness about obstacles along the way.Kagan’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2010, Hunter-Gadsden said, was a “total validation” for her class. The degree was conferred by President Jennifer J. Raab, who opened the ceremony by paying tribute to Justice Kagan’s extraordinary life and career. Justice Kagan’s mother, Gloria, was a beloved member of the Hunter College Elementary School faculty who earned her education degree at Hunter College.President Raab has announced details to a series of events titled "Speaking of Justice: Race, Racism and Reform," among other initiatives. ”Justice Kagan is a graduate of both Hunter College Elementary School and Hunter College High School; she last stood at the Assembly Hall podium as a speaker at her high school graduation in 1977. She found that she loved it: “Law mattered. “When you listen to other people, you understand where they’re coming from, what the world looks like from their perspective.”In 2001, Kagan became the first female Dean of Harvard Law School. I will be endlessly grateful to my teachers, administrators, and fellow students for my time at those institutions.”Kagan’s strong sense of citizenship was a recurring theme of her remarks and remembrances, as were the lessons she took from her mother. “And to see someone speak about their job, one of the most important jobs in the land… One of us might be her one day.”“I think it’s really important for us to see women on the Supreme Court coming to Hunter College, especially knowing this college was initially a women’s college as well,” she added.After her nomination to be a federal circuit judge failed, Kagan returned to Harvard Law School to teach, eventually becoming dean in 2003.
Afterward, Justice Kagan engaged in a conversation with her longtime friend and colleague John F. Manning, Dean of Harvard Law School. The event was capped by a question-and-answer segment, allowing current Hunter elementary, high school, and college students to present the Justice with questions about her observations and experiences serving on the highest bench in the land.Asked by Dean Manning to share the most surprising aspect of her life on the Supreme Court, Kagan shared anecdotes of the gentle hazing she experienced as a junior Justice, having to open the door to the Chambers any time an outsider came in – even when that involved hobbling on an injured leg – and having to listen to complaints about lunchroom minutiae as the mandated representative to the cafeteria committee. ?
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