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Professor’s Presentation Proves Popular

2010 December 16

ACLU Colorado

Prof. Courtenay Daum, CSU Political Science Department, spoke last night to a packed house … it was Bill of Rights Day … her subject “The Roberts Supreme Court Comes of Age: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going?” The roots of the Roberts Court may be traced back to the Ronald Reagan administration. At the time the federal judiciary was deemed to have a liberal bias. Reagan took it as a priority to nominate conservative judges. Roughly half of the federal bench was appointed during the Reagan administration. Republicans held a Senate majority for six of the eight years of the Reagan era. The professor traced the careers of the five most conservative sitting Supreme Court Justices. /


After her initial presentation the audience had many questions; they moved the session into dialogue mode. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 130 S. Ct. 876 got the most questions along with the proper role of corporations in society. The recent District court ruling that a portion of The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 is unconstitutional makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will accept a case challenging the new health care law. She discussed two Second Amendment cases: District of Columbia vs. Heller 554 U.S. 290 (2008) and McDonald v Chicago 561 U. S. ___. On separation of church and state, an ACLU perennial, Daum said that challenges to the State of Kentucky creationist theme park are likely to be handled at a lower court level. A school voucher case is a more likely vehicle for the Roberts Court. [Perhaps a case such as Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v Kathleen M. Winn, et al 09-987 – Gypsy Chief’s comment]

The meeting sponsored by ACLU of Colorado was held at the
Coloradoan Community Meeting Room. Gypsy Chief estimates that there were just over 100 in attendance. Our previous story about this can be found here.

Daum also discussed what might have happened if President Obama had nominated Cass Sunstein and he had been confirmed. Would such a shift have pushed Justice Kennedy into the more conservative camp? Gypsy Chief, just being snarky, wondered if the Supreme Court would entertain a case in which South Georgia pigs and chickens banded together to sue their owners. See Giraffe et al vs. Chambliss on this blog. One of the high points for me was a discussion of judicial activism. Activism, Daum said, is a philosophy, not a political posture. The Roberts Court, beginning in its second term, has shown a proclivity toward overturning precedent, even recent precedent. There was also a comment that Chief Justice Earl Warren was a liberal. Frankly, I think that is wrong. As I’ve said before Earl Warren was a conservative bent on gradual continuous constitutional reform. This has a tradition which dates back to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France.


Posted by Gypsy Chief