Akhil Amar “Dismisses” Saul Cornell, asks if he is “as well-read as Amar” at McDonald Debate at Yale Law School

September 28th, 2010

Akhil seems to have gotten a little hot under the collar when someone challenges his research. Amar was debating Jeb Rubenfeld on McDonald v. Chicago.

Here is the report from the Yale Daily News:

Although Rubenfeld and Amar, both Constitutional scholars, agreed that the case was decided correctly, they said they feared it might be for the wrong reasons. Both professors said the decision is well-founded in the principles of the Fourteenth Amendment, but noted that the justices seemed to argue for it on more modern political principals.

But then Professor Saul Cornell asked a question. Cornell vigorously disagrees with McDonald, and wrote A Well Regulated Miliita, which provides a conflicting view of the history of the right to keep and bear arms.

How did Amar react?

The conversation, though generally calm, grew heated just once when Saul Cornell, a visiting professor from Fordham University questioned Amar on the historical context he provided about the decision. Amar surprised audience members when he dismissed Cornell’s question, asking him if he is as well-read as Amar himself.

Wow. And what was the reaction?

While some students complained afterward that Amar unnecessarily closed off debate with the remarks, Cornell said he was not offended.

“Good lively debate is why you come to these [events],” he said. “I have thick skin.”

I’m looking for video of the debate (it does not seem to be posted to the News & Events page).

H/T Al Brophy