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.