What we’re reading this weekend

The weather calls for dipping temps and rain this weekend.  A perfect excuse to shut in and read a brief report (12-pages.  Come on guys! In the legal arena, that’s like a short story) on the doctrinal conversations that are Justice Elena Kagan’s SCOTUS opinions.  Not an obvious pick, perhaps, for SB.  Why’d we make it blog worthy?  Because, as the abstract points out, Justice Kagan never lets us forget she’s this:

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Justice Kagan: Teacher, SC Justice, Boss. Maybe someone should remind the kid checking Facebook on her laptop.

…a Teacher.

We’re teachers, lovers of law, and students.  To hear Justice Kagan deliver an opinion puts us at ease for we know she’s talking to us, walking us through the case and the context of the decision, rather than at us.  We’ll be enjoying this report by Laura Ray of Widener Law School (get it here) and hope you will too.  Here’s the abstract:

In her first two terms on the Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan has crafted a distinctive judicial voice that speaks to her readers in a remarkably conversational tone. She employs a variety of rhetorical devices: invocations to “remember” or “pretend”; informal and even colloquial diction; a diverse assortment of similes and metaphors; and parenthetical interjections that guide the reader’s response. These strategies engage the reader in much the same way that Kagan as law professor may well have worked to engage her students, and in the context of judicial opinions they serve several purposes. They make Kagan’s opinions accessible to lay readers as well as legal professionals, a goal she has specified. More generally, her conversational style works to persuade her readers that her arguments are grounded in both legal doctrine and the familiar texture of human experience.

We couldn’t agree more.