Monthly Archives: July 2015

Jackson List: Choosing Courtroom 600 (July 1945)

This post, with a July 21, 1945, photograph of Justice Jackson and his travel party arriving at an airfield near Nuremberg, now is on the Jackson List archive site in “book look” PDF file form.

Go Read a Watchman

I’ve now read Go Set a Watchman and recommend it highly.  I don’t know, of course, if Harper Lee really wanted to publish it, or what she thought in the 1950s and 1960s or later or thinks now about it and To Kill a Mockingbird and their overlapping characters.  I do know that Watchman has a strong plot, gripping writing, and really important ideas to consider about race, constitutional law, Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court, etc.  It’s a book for general readers, including Mockingbird lovers – assuming that Miss Lee thinks this is a finished book and wanted it published, she really aimed it at Mockingbird lovers, with concern to assist their growing up.  (And note that she published this more complicated, adult portrait of “Atticus Finch,” a character that obviously is based on her father Amasa Coleman Lee, long after his death in 1962; she published Mockingbird, with its earlier, simpler and (maybe) heroic Atticus, in 1960, while her father was living.)  Watchman is, in addition to literature that I think is great and will last, a book for anyone who is interested in U.S. history.  And, yes, it’s a book for lawyers, law students and law professors.  (Nuggets:  it has a great wisecrack about Eleanor Roosevelt and mentions Alger Hiss and – a first in fiction? – Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts.)  [Hat tip: Brad Snyder, who got to that late page mentioning OJR before I did.]  So very seriously, buy the book and read it.

Jackson List: Laurence Tribe’s July 8th Jackson Lecture at Chautauqua Institution

On July 8th, Laurence H. Tribe, University Professor and Professor of Law at Harvard University, delivered at Chautauqua Institution the 11th annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Professor Tribe’s lecture, entitled “The Constitution Writ Large,” addressed both recent events and timeless topics, including:

  • the Charleston, South Carolina, murders;
  • leading decisions in the Supreme Court’s just-completed term, including Zivotofsky v. Kerry (the Jerusalem birth/U.S. passport case), Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. (the Confederate license plate case), and Obergefell v. Hodges (the marriage case).
  • Justice Robert H. Jackson’s judging during his 1941-1954 tenure on the Supreme Court; and
  • Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s judging today, including especially his recent opinion for the Court in Obergefell.

For Professor Tribe’s lecture on video (preceded by brief introductions, and followed by audience questions and Tribe answers), click here.

For the text of his lecture, click here and here.

And—as something of a bonus track—for video excerpts from an interview that Tribe gave at the Robert H. Jackson Center on July 9th, click here.

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Laurence H. Tribe is leading scholar, teacher and writer on the Constitution of the United States, the Supreme Court, and constitutional law and history.  He also is a leading courtroom advocate, including before the Supreme Court, where he has argued 35 cases.  He also helped write the constitutions of South Africa, the Czech Republic, and the Marshall Islands.  Professor Tribe has taught at Harvard since 1968.  His current position, University Professor, is Harvard’s highest academic honor, awarded to just a handful of professors at any given time and to fewer than 75 professors in Harvard’s history.

Professor Tribe, born in China to Russian Jewish parents, entered Harvard in 1958 at age 16; he graduated summa cum laude in Mathematics in 1962 and magna cum laude in Law in 1966.  He clerked for Justice Mathew Tobriner of the California Supreme Court and then for Justice Potter Stewart of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Professor Tribe received tenure at Harvard at age 30 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at 38, and to the American Philosophical Society in 2010.  He has received 11 honorary degrees, most recently from Columbia University.  In 2010, President Obama appointed Tribe to serve in the U.S. Department of Justice as the first Senior Counselor for Access to Justice.  Professor Tribe has written 115 books and articles, including his landmark treatise, American Constitutional Law.  His most recent, award-winning book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution (with Joshua Matz), has just been published in paperback.

The Jackson Lecture at Chautauqua Institution is a leading annual consideration of the Supreme Court of the United States in the weeks following the completion of the Supreme Court’s annual Term.  Chautauqua’s Jackson Lecturers have been:

  • 2005:  Geoffrey R. Stone, University of Chicago professor;
  • 2006:  Linda Greenhouse, New York Times writer and Yale Law School professor;
  • 2007:  Seth P. Waxman, WilmerHale partner and former Solicitor General of the United States;
  • 2008:  Jeffrey Toobin, staff writer at The New Yorker and CNN senior legal analyst;
  • 2009:  Paul D. Clement, Bancroft PLLC partner and former Solicitor General of the United States;
  • 2010:  Jeff Shesol, historian, communications strategist and former White House speechwriter;
  • 2011:  Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate;
  • 2012:  Pamela Karlan, Stanford University professor;
  • 2013:  Charles Fried, Harvard University professor and former Solicitor General of the United States; and
  • 2014:  Akhil Reed Amar, Yale University professor.