As a young lawyer at high court, Kagan was on guard against Supreme Court's conservative shift

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As a young lawyer working for Justice Thurgood Marshall, Elena Kagan repeatedly expressed her concern that a conservative Supreme Court was looking for ways to cut back on the rights of women, criminal defendants and prisoners.

Documents from Kagan's year with Marshall show a law clerk who was frequently assessing the politics of the institution. Her memos to the justice are on file in Marshall's papers at the Library of Congress.

Kagan's time with Marshall, the groundbreaking lawyer who argued against segregation and later became the first African-American on the court, is likely to be a subject at her confirmation hearing, scheduled to begin in late June. She would be only the sixth justice to have served as a law clerk for the high court, but the only one whose former boss's papers were public at the time of her nomination.

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