News and Events
Symposium Addresses First Year of the Roberts Court
The first major symposium of the fall 2006 term at Pepperdine University’s School of Law was a tremendous success, as many of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars gathered on August 30 to put the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent term under a magnifying glass. A streaming video of the half-day’s proceedings is available at the School of Law Web site.
Titled “The Rookie Year of the Roberts Court & A Look Ahead,” the symposium was held at the School of Law's Odell McConnell Law Center and the entire program was taped for the C-SPAN program America & the Courts, which airs Saturdays at 7 p.m., eastern. The broadcast date for “The Rookie Year” program has not yet been announced.
School of Law Dean Kenneth W. Starr began the proceedings with a welcome address and introductions of the panelists, participating journalists, and School of Law faculty respondents. Led by Douglas W. Kmiec, Caruso Family Chair and professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine, the symposium examined the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions and the impact of newly appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito on the court's decisions.
Kmiec called the event a continuation of Pepperdine’s tradition of “examining significant developments in the work of the Supreme Court.” He said that under its new leadership, “The Roberts Court has demonstrated some remarkable unanimity and collegiality while examining highly sensitive topics ranging from abortion to presidential power and the war on terror, to political gerrymandering and campaign financing, and more.”
Panelists consisted of nationally prominent constitutional scholars including Akhil Reed Amar of Yale University School of Law, who is also a fall 2006 visiting professor of law at Pepperdine; Erwin Chemerinsky of Duke Law School; Elizabeth Garrett of USC Law School, and host conveners of the program, Professor Kmiec and Dean Starr.
The panelists’ substantive assessments of the past term covered both the cases decided and the confirmation process for Roberts and Alito. Following their individual assessment, the panelists fielded questions from prominent U.S. Supreme Court correspondents including David Savage from the Los Angeles Times, Gina Holland of the Associated Press, and Marcia Coyle, Washington bureau chief and correspondent for the National Law Journal.
Pepperdine School of Law faculty who participated in the symposium included Bernard James, James McGoldrick, Jr. and Robert Pushaw. All are constitutional law experts. In addition to addressing their own questions to the panelists, the faculty respondents posed questions that were raised by some of the more than 200 law school students who attended the program.