Full Court Press

The Supreme Court, the Media, and Public Understanding

Wed, 11/11/2009
4:30 PM, Robertson Hall, Dodds Auditorium
Event Category: 
Panel Discussion

LAPA invites you to join us for a very special public panel discussion entitled "Full Court Press: the Supreme Court, the Media, and Public Understanding" on Wednesday, November 11th, at 4:30 p.m. in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.

Our panelists include noted law reporters and media analysts:

  • Emily Bazelon, Yale Law School senior research scholar affiliated with Center for Law and Media, and a Slate.com senior writer and editor
  • Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times
  • Dahlia LithwickSlate.com senior editor and legal correspondent
  • Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst and well-known author of  "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court." 

Paul Starr, Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School, and Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, will moderate the discussion.

"While the Supreme Court in recent decades has become a prominent player in American politics, public knowledge of the justices and the impact of the judiciary branch remains fairly foggy," explained Professor Paul Frymer, LAPA's Acting Director. "This panel discussion builds on recent issues raised by the confirmation process of Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor '76, particularly with regard to what the public knows and understands about the Court."  Panelists will explore what the role of the media is or should be in educating the public about judges and judicial nominees, as well as issues such as how the media views/should view its job as a "fourth branch of government," how the media should handle interest group efforts at agenda control, and what the media's future place is in Supreme Court politics.

This event is free and open to the public.

Emily Bazelon is senior editor for the online magazine Slate.com, and is affiliated with the Law and Media Program of Yale Law School, where she is the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law. She is also a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and a contributing editor of Legal Affairs. Bazelon graduated from Yale College in 1993 and from Yale Law School in 2000, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She worked as a law clerk for Judge Kermit Lipez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The New Republic, as well as other publications.

Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate.com, writes the column "Supreme Court Dispatches" and has covered the Microsoft trial and other legal issues. Before joining Slate, she worked for a family law firm in Nevada, and clerked for Procter Hug, chief justice of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1996. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Commentary, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle, and on CNN.com. She is a weekly legal commentator for the NPR show "Day to Day." She received a B.A degree in English from Yale University in 1990 and a J.D from Stanford Law School in 1996.

Adam Liptak covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times. Liptak's column on legal affairs, "Sidebar," appears every other Tuesday.  A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Liptak practiced law at a large New York City law firm and in the legal department of The New York Times Company before joining the paper's news staff in 2002. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting in 2009 for a series of articles examining ways in which the American legal system differs from those of other developed nations. He has taught media law at the Columbia University School of Journalism and at Yale Law School, where he is a visiting lecturer.

Jeffrey Toobin is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the senior legal analyst for CNN. His most recent book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (2007), was named one of the ten best books of the year by numerous publications, and also received the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for Non-Fiction and the Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association. His other best-selling books include Too Close to Call: The 36-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election (2001); A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President (2000); and The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson (1996). Toobin joined CNN in 2002 after six years with ABC News. Since joining The New Yorker, he has covered legal affairs and written profiles of Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, as well as such subjects as the legal implications of the war on terror, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Toobin received his B.A. from Harvard College, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Moderator Paul Starr is professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. He is also co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect. At Princeton, he holds the Stuart Chair in Communications and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. He received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and Bancroft Prize in American History for The Social Transformation of American Medicine and the 2005 Goldsmith Book Prize for The Creation of the Media. His most recent book is Freedom's Power: The History and Promise of Liberalism. During 1993 he served as a senior advisor at the White House in the formulation of the Clinton health plan. He is currently working on a book about the new public and its problems.