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Pepperdine Hosts Roberts Court Symposium

For more information, visit the Symposia Web Site.

Pepperdine University School of Law, in association with the National Constitution Center, hosted a Caruso Family Chair Symposium on the Constitution titled, "An Enigmatic Court? Examining the Roberts Court as it Begins Year Three," on Friday, Oct. 19, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. in the Mendenhall Appellate Courtroom.

The symposium examined the work of the Roberts Court over the past two terms, along with making predictions for the year ahead. Featured speakers included Jeffrey Rosen, Joan Biskupic, Vikram Amar, Kathleen Sullivan, Dean Ken Starr, Professor Doug Kmiec, and Judges Diarmuid O'Scannlain and Steven Reinhardt, both of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Doug Kmiec, the Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law, guided discussion on the question of "consensus" on the court, exploring to what degree the Chief can lead the Court to consensus.

The event also included a Mock Trial of Constitutional Interpretation. On trial were the competing interpretative approaches in the Supreme Court's decision on "racial tie-breakers" in Parents' Involved v. Seattle School District (2007), with a unique appearance by special "legal witnesses" The Honorable Diarmuid O'Scannlain, and The Honorable Stephen Reinhardt.

Professor Kmiec and Dean Starr appeared for the Parents Involved majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, and Kathleen Sullivan and Jeffrey Rosen represented the dissenting opinion by Justice Breyer.

The event concluded with predictions about Year Three of the Roberts Court. Panelists engaged in a discussion, guided by audience questions (from those live at the event and those participating live via simulcast from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia). At issue was the Court's current docket and a look at the road ahead for criminal practice, sentencing, voting rights, securities law liability for lawyers, accountants, and other matters at issue this term.