Precedents and antecedents

Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings were going along fine until she described the surprisingly large crowd at her mother’s funeral. Kagan’s mom was a teacher, she said, and mourners approached to tell her why they’d come: “At the age of 12, your mother taught me I could do anything.” If she taught school at the age of 12, I guess we should take her word for it.

Is trouble with dangling modifiers the “major gaffe” her opponents need to derail Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination? Probably not.