Bench Memos

Elena Kagan, Goldman Sachs Adviser

USA Today reports that Solicitor General, and Supreme Court contender, Elena Kagan “was a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute” from 2005 through 2008 (when she was dean of Harvard Law School).  The role of the advisory panel was “to discuss public policy issues”; it “was not involved in any investment decisions.”  The article reports that Kagan received a $10,000 stipend for her service in 2008.  (I gather that was the only year covered by the financial-disclosure report that she filed; it’s a safe bet that she received similar stipends in the other years.)

It would strike me as ludicrous for anyone to suggest that Kagan’s advisory role on the Goldman Sachs GMI panel had any causal connection to whatever wrongdoings Goldman Sachs is alleged to have committed.  At the same time, her ties to Goldman Sachs would make even more farfetched any effort by the White House to depict Kagan as some sort of populist candidate who has a keen understanding of the challenges that ordinary Americans face in their everyday lives.