updated 1/2/2009 10:00:23 PM ET 2009-01-03T03:00:23

Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan is the leading candidate to be President-elect Barack Obama's representative at the Supreme Court, a person who had been briefed on the process said Friday.

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Kagan could become Obama's solicitor general, who represents the United States before the Supreme Court, the person said.

Kagan has never argued a Supreme Court case but clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, practiced at a Washington law firm and worked on the University of Chicago Law School faculty at the same time as Obama during the 1990s. Obama is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where Kagan has won praise for building consensus and record fundraising

She also worked in the Clinton White House as associated counsel and a domestic policy adviser. Former President Bill Clinton nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but Republicans stalled the nomination.

The United States is involved in about two-thirds of all cases the Supreme Court decides on, according to the Justice Department. The solicitor general's office also determines whether the government should appeal lower court case decisions or intervene in appellate court case.

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