Selecting Judges in the Trump Era

Deborah Poritz, David Tatel and Jed Shugerman

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 4:30pm
Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall
Event Category: 
Panel Discussion

Please join us for this year's John Marshall Harlan '20 Lecture in Constitutional Adjudication, featuring a distinguished panel: Judge David S. Tatel,  from the Federal Court of Appeals, former New Jersey state court Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz, and Jed Shugerman, a law professor with expertise in judicial elections and appointments, to examine  the issues associated with how we identify and select members of America’s judiciary.  

The Harlan Lecture celebrates the legacy of John Marshal Harlan, the eighth U.S. Supreme Court justice to graduate from Princeton (current Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. '72, Sonia Sotomayor '76 and Elena Kagan '81 are the ninth, 10th, and 11th).

Past Harlan Lecturers include Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Judge Dieter Grimm, Federal Constitutional Court of Germany; Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia; Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey Stuart Rabner ’82; Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, Supreme Court of Canada; Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens [ret.]; the Honorable Andras Sajo, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights; and Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Deborah T. Poritz
Chief Justice (ret.), Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey, 1996-2006

Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz (Ret.) served as the first woman Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1996 to 2006. During her tenure, she authored numerous opinions on significant issues of state and federal law, including disputes regarding parental notification of a minor’s abortion, the discriminatory use of preemptory jury challenges, the right of the Boy Scouts to exclude homosexual members, and the right of same-sex couples to marry. She also presided over the unification of the New Jersey court system that followed legislation transferring the responsibility for funding the courts from the counties to the state. The former Chief Justice is recognized for having used her appointment powers to increase the percentage of talented minority and women managers in the state judiciary and for having elevated minority and women judges to leadership positions in the trial and intermediate appellate courts. Prior to 1996, she was appointed as New Jersey’s first woman Attorney General. In that role, she defended Megan’s Law before the state and federal courts and chaired the Task Force that reformed and reorganized the juvenile justice system in New Jersey. Previously, she served as Chief Counsel to Gov. Thomas Kean, in which capacity she reviewed potential appointments to the state judiciary for the Governor. She received her B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1958 and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1977. The Chief Justice is currently Of-Counsel in the Princeton office of the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.


David S. Tatel
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit

Judge Tatel was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Bill Clinton in October 1994. Judge Tatel earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the University of Chicago. Following law school, he served as an instructor at the University of Michigan Law School and then an associate at Sidley & Austin in Chicago. Since then, Judge Tatel served as founding Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter Administration. Returning to private practice in 1979, Judge Tatel joined Hogan & Hartson, where he founded and headed the firm’s education practice until his appointment to the D.C. Circuit. While on sabbatical from Hogan & Hartson, he spent a year as a lecturer at Stanford Law School. Judge Tatel co-chairs the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology and Law, and serves on the Board of the Federal Judicial Center and on the Judicial Advisory Board of the American Society of International Law. He is also a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the National Academy of Education. He chaired the boards of The Spencer Foundation from 1990 to 1997 and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching from 2005 to 2009. Judge Tatel and his wife, Edith, have four children and eight grandchildren.

Jed Shugerman
Professor, Fordham University School of Law

Professor Shugerman is a professor at Fordham University School of Law. Professor Shugerman wrote The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America (Harvard U. Press, 2012) on the history of judicial elections from the 18th century through the 21st century, and won the Cromwell Prize from the American Society of Legal History. Chief Justice John Roberts, in his opinion for the Court in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar (2014) on judicial speech codes, relied on The People's Courts to rebut the historical claims in Justice Scalia's dissent. Shugerman has published in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, and peer-reviewed historical journals. He teaches torts, administrative law, constitutional law, and legal history. He is working on the power of state attorneys general over corporate misconduct (and emoluments), and he is working on a book project on the history of prosecutors.

Gerwin photo
Leslie E. Gerwin
Associate Director, Program in Law and Public Affairs