Panel discussion of Christopher L. Eisgruber's new book

The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process

Thu, 11/29/2007
4:30 - 6:00 PM, Dodds Auditorium, WWS
Event Category: 
Panel Discussion

LAPA is pleased to invite you to a panel discussion to celebrate the publication of Christopher Eisgruber's new book -- The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process (Princeton University Press, 2007). The panel discussion will take place on Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 4:30 pm in Dodds Auditorium. Joining Professor Eisgruber will be: Michael Dorf, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia University; Jan Crawford Greenburg, ABC News correspondent; Ron Klain, former Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, and Associate Counsel to the President (in the Clinton Administration); and David Yalof, Associate Professor, University of Connecticut. Kim Lane Scheppele, Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs, will moderate the discussion. Copies of Professor Eisgruber's book will be available for purchase at this event through special arrangement with Labyrinth Books.

About the book

The Supreme Court appointments process is broken, and the timing couldn't be worse--for liberals or conservatives. The Court is just one more solid conservative justice away from an ideological sea change--a hard-right turn on an array of issues that affect every American, from abortion to environmental protection. But neither those who look at this prospect with pleasure nor those who view it with horror will be able to make informed judgments about the next nominee to the Court--unless the appointments process is fixed now. In The Next Justice, Christopher Eisgruber boldly proposes a way to do just that. He describes a new and better manner of deliberating about who should serve on the Court--an approach that puts the burden on nominees to show that their judicial philosophies and politics are acceptable to senators and citizens alike. And he makes a new case for the virtue of judicial moderates.

Long on partisan rancor and short on serious discussion, today's appointments process reveals little about what kind of judge a nominee might make. Eisgruber argues that the solution is to investigate how nominees would answer a basic question about the Court's role: When and why is it beneficial for judges to trump the decisions of elected officials? Through an examination of the politics and history of the Court, Eisgruber demonstrates that pursuing this question would reveal far more about nominees than do other tactics, such as investigating their views of specific precedents or the framers' intentions.

Written with great clarity and energy, The Next Justice provides a welcome exit from the uninformative political theater of the current appointments process.

About the author

Christopher L. Eisgruber became the Provost of Princeton University on July 1, 2004. He is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values. From 2001 through June 2004, he served as Director of Princeton's Program in Law and Public Affairs. He is the co-author, with Lawrence G. Sager, of Religious Freedom and the Constitution (Harvard University Press, 2007) and the author of Constitutional Self-Government (Harvard University Press, 2001). He has also published numerous articles on constitutional law, religious freedom, and jurisprudence. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2001, he clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court, and then served for eleven years on the faculty of the New York University School of Law. Eisgruber received an A.B. magna cum laude in Physics from Princeton, an M. Litt. in Politics from Oxford University (where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar), and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He is a member of the American Law Institute. For more on Chris Eisgruber, see his LAPA page.

About the panelists

Jan Crawford Greenburg is the author of Supreme Conflict: The Inside Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court (Penguin 2007). She is also a correspondent for ABC News who covers law and politics for World News Tonight, Nightline, and Good Morning America. She previously served as the Supreme Court analyst for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS and Face the Nation on CBS and was the chief legal affairs writer for the Chicago Tribune. She has covered the Supreme Court for twelve years and has had extensive interviews with most of the nine justices. With high-level sources inside the White House, the Justice Department and on Capitol Hill, Greenburg has gained unique access to the leading players in the confirmation battles. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama. For more on Jan Crawford Greenberg, please see her page at ABC news.

Michael Dorf is Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University. Professor Dorf's academic writing frequently brings insights from comparative, foreign and international law to bear on questions of U.S. constitutional law. His work with colleagues on "Democratic Experimentalism" focuses especially on convergent developments in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in regulation through decentralized though coordinated networks of locally accountable bodies, developments that sometimes go under the name "reflexive law" abroad. His dozens of scholarly articles and essays have appeared in the leading law journals. With Laurence H. Tribe, he is the co-author of the book On Reading the Constitution (Harvard University Press, 1991). He is the editor of and wrote the Introduction to the book Constitutional Law Stories (Foundation Press, 2004), which tells the stories behind fifteen leading constitutional cases. His most recent book is No Litmus Test: Law and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). For more on Michael Dorf, please see his page at Columbia Law.

Ron Klain is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Revolution LLC. Prior to joining Revolution, Ron was a partner with the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where his practice focused on litigation, strategic counseling, constitutional law and corporate counseling. Ron served as Chair of the firm's National Strategic Counseling Practice Group. Earlier, during a leave of absence from O'Melveny, Ron was General Counsel for the Gore-Lieberman Recount Committee. During another leave of absence from private practice, he served as Debate Preparation Coordinator for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign. From 1995 to 1999, Ron served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Vice President. In this latter role, he directed Vice President Al Gore's staff, overseeing policy development, management, communications strategy and legal matters. Ron's other positions in the Clinton-Gore administration included his service as Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, and Associate Counsel to the President, where he directed judicial selection efforts and led the team that won confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For more on Ron Klain, please see his page at Revolution.

David Alistair Yalof is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut and the author of Pursuit of Justices: Presidential Politics and the Selection of Supreme Court Nominees, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), a book which won the APSA's Richard E. Neustadt Prize for the Best Book on the Presidency that year. He is also the author of The First Amendment and the Media in the Court of Public Opinion, with Kenneth Dautrich. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). He specializes in constitutional law, judicial politics and executive branch politics. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University in 1997, a J.D., from the University of Virginia Law School in 1991, and a B.A. with honors, from the University of Virginia in 1988. For more on David Alistair Yalof, please see his page at the University of Connecticut.