2015 Supreme Court Preview
The Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL) at William & Mary Law School hosted the 28th Annual Supreme Court Preview on September 25th & 26th, 2015, to mark the commencement of the new term of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Preview has, for the past twenty-eight years, brought together Supreme Court advocates, journalists, judges, law professors, and practitioners to review significant cases that have been granted certiorari for the upcoming term of the Supreme Court of the United States. A highlight of the event is the Friday evening Moot Court, during which seasoned Supreme Court advocates argue a controversial upcoming case. The Preview is nationally recognized for providing insight into the upcoming term.
Unlike all previous Previews, during which panels looked strictly at the specific cases on the Court's docket for the new term, the panels this year focused on broader issues and discuss relevant upcoming cases in the context of the larger issue.The new format was found to be more entertaining and understandable for law students and practitioners alike as there was lesser need for knowledge of the specific cases. Attendees with a general interest in the specific issue had no trouble following the discussions and engaging with the topics.
The Preview began on Friday, September 25th with a Moot Court. This year's case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, carried grave implications for the future of public sector unions. The Friday evening programming closed with a panel conversation on whether the Roberts Court took a liberal turn during the Court's most recent term. Saturday's programming included panels on the death penalty, class action lawsuits and the Court's attitude towards such suits, abortion, and the future of affirmative action. Judge Emilio Garza of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals - who sat on the 5th Circuit panels that heard the affirmative action cases headed to the Court this term - participated as one of the panelists in the affirmative action panel.
This year's panelists brought an unparalleled combined wealth of knowledge and perspective to the Preview programming. Sixteen of the participants had collectively argued around 400 cases before the Supreme Court, including the Same-Sex Marriage and the Affordable Care Act cases from this past term. The Preview also brought together former U.S. Solicitors General, four federal court of appeals judges, pre-eminent scholars of Constitutional law, and journalists from the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and The Los Angeles Times. Participants included J. Harvie Wilkinson, Patricia Millet, Michael McConnell, Greg Garre, Erwin Chemerinsky, and Linda Greenhouse.
Dunn Speaker Jamal Greene: Is There a Right to Same-Sex Marriage in the Constitution?
As part of the Dunn Speaker Series, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL) hosted Columbia Law Professor Jamal Greene on February 4, 2015 for a lecture and discussion regarding the United States Constitution and Same-Sex Marriage.
After an introduction from Neal Devins, Goodrich Professor of Law and director of IBRL, Professor Greene spoke for twenty minutes about the history of same-sex marriage litigation and the recent cert grant by the Supreme Court on the same-sex marriage cases out of the 6th circuit before a thirty-minute question and answer session with the audience. Greene noted that the U.S. Constitution is “perhaps the shortest constitution in the world,” and consequently, the document is not self-explanatory. As a result, interpretation of the document by the Supreme Court and our culture has changed over time to include a right to privacy, abortion, and sooner or later, a right to same-sex marriage. Professor Greene also addressed the William & Mary Law School faculty at a separate even on February 5, 2015.
Professor Greene teaches at Columbia Law School and is a leader in Constitutional theory. He attended Yale Law School, clerked for Judge Calabresi on the Second Circuit and Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court. He has been awarded the Burton H. Brody Prize for best paper on constitutional privacy and the Smith-Doheny Legal Ethics Writing Prize. Prior to attending law school, Professor Greene was a reporter for Sports Illustrated.
Dunn Speaker Tom Goldstein
On February 11, 2015, as part of the Dunn Speaker Series, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL) hosted Tom Goldstein, appellate advocate and co-founder of SCOTUSblog, for a lecture and discussion regarding Supreme Court practice and Constitutional Law.
Goldstein spent about twenty minutes discussing his Supreme Court practice and the differences between litigating at the Federal District Court level versus at Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court, before taking questions from the audience for a half-hour. According to Goldstein, when he first started his Supreme Court practice in 1995, there were not firms or divisions of firms specializing in Supreme Court practice as there are today. Then, there were few if any “repeat players” that regularly argued cases before the Court. In fact, the only regular, repeat player Goldstein could think of from that era was an attorney that is now widely known and the head of the Federal Judiciary: Chief Justice John Roberts.
Later in the afternoon, the IBRL Student Division recognized Goldstein as the eighth recipient of the Edmund Randolph “Silver Tongue” Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy. Goldstein is an appellate advocate, best known as one of the nation's most experienced Supreme Court practitioners. He has served as counsel to the petitioner or respondent in roughly 10% of all of the Court's merits cases for the past 15 years (approximately 100 in total), personally arguing 34. He has been counsel on more successful petitions for certiorari over the past decade than any other lawyer in private practice.
In addition to practicing law, Tom has taught Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School since 2004, and previously taught the same subject at Stanford Law School for nearly a decade. Tom is also the co-founder and publisher of SCOTUSblog, a web-site devoted to comprehensive coverage of the Court, which is the only weblog ever to receive the Peabody Award.
Tom has received a variety of recognitions for his practice before the Supreme Court and for his appellate advocacy generally. For example, in 2010, the National Law Journal named him one of the nation's 40 most influential lawyers of the decade. The same publication included him in both of its most recent lists (2006 and 2013) of the nation's 100 most influential attorneys. Legal Times named him one of the "90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years." GQ named him one of the 50 most powerful people in Washington, D.C.
You may also view an archive of past events.