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Kagan Went to Harvard After Chicago Hesitated to Hire Her

Posted Jun 1, 2010 7:20 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Formerly a tenured law professor at the University of Chicago, Elena Kagan wanted to return to teach there in 1999 after a stint at the White House with President Bill Clinton.

But the faculty of the law school was hesitant to vote to approve her return, wondering if she was truly devoted to legal scholarship. So, while they were still mulling over the situation, she accepted an offer to serve as a visiting law professor at Harvard University instead, where she quickly rose to the position of law school dean, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"She turned out to be truly great at what she did," says David Strauss, a U of C law prof who is among Kagan's closest faculty friends. And, he notes, if Kagan had returned to her old job there, "maybe she wouldn't be where she is now."

Currently serving as U.S. Solicitor General, Kagan is awaiting confirmation as President Barack Obama's latest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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