EXCLUSIVE: New Supreme Court Nominee Once Defended National Enquirer In Lawsuit

May 11 2010, Published 3:02 p.m. ET

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Elena Kagan, the new Supreme Court justice nominee, has never served as a judge but she does have experience defending America’s best known tabloid! has learned that Kagan, who faces a challenge from the right wing for her lack of judicial experience, got some practical experience in libel litigation that went extremely well for her side.

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Kagan worked for Williams & Connolly from 1989 to 1991. The Washington, D.C. law firm represented the Enquirer for decades, after first being brought in by the tabloid’s founder Generoso Pope.

The Enquirer was sued by a person who was mistakenly identified in print as being Jimmy Swaggart’s father. This was back before the Enquirer gained national headlines for stories such as John Edwards’ affair and love child, revealing Jesse Jackson’s love child and other scoops.

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Swaggart went from preacher to controversial figure almost overnight, and one woman, Debra Muphree, claimed that she posed nude for him in hotel rooms.

But the Kagan case was not nearly as notorious.

And in her application for Solicitor General, Kagan listed this about her litigation experience:

“Bagbey v. National Enquirer, No. CV 89-2177. We represented the National Enquirer in this libel action brought by a person mistakenly identified in the publication as being Jimmy Swaggert's father. I drafted all pleadings and did all discovery in the case, which began in Louisiana state court but which we removed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Judge F.A. Little, Jr.). We eventually settled the case on tenns favorable to our client.”

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Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.



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