Kagan: “Nothing Short of Terrifying” As Law Prof

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan may never have been a judge. But for those looking for clues about what she might be like on the bench, Elie Mystal over at Above the Law, offers some insights. Mystal didn’t know Kagan as a colleague, a legal opponent, or even a military recruiter, but as his first year civil procedure professor. And it wasn’t pretty. He writes:

Like Frodo on Weathertop, there are some wounds that never fully heal. Professor Kagan massacred me intellectually, and brutalized my pride. I got some form of a B in her class (I honestly don’t remember if there was a modifier — I’ve tried to suppress those memories). Kagan was a frightening professor for those who wanted to match wits with the brightest legal minds in the world. For people like me, people who just wanted to get through law school with minimal mental damage, Kagan was nothing short of terrifying.

Mystal describes Kagan as a part of a dying breed of classical Socratic method instructors, a woman who could leave students shaking like leaves with her cold-call questioning. If Kagan performs on the bench the way Mystal describes her in the classroom, the Supreme Court bar is in for some fun if she gets confirmed.


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