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The Least Dangerous Branch?
Untitled Document
The Least Dangerous Branch?

SESSION 1—12:45–2:00 p.m.
Judging the Judges: What Makes a Justice a Good Justice?

David Greenberg, is a Professor of History and Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. A columnist for, he has written on politics and history for many publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Globe, New York Times, and The New Yorker. His first book, Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image (2003), a study of Richard Nixon’s image in American culture, won several awards. He has just published Presidential Doodles: Two Centuries of Scribbles, Scratches, Squiggles and Scrawls from the Oval Office (Basic Books), which he considers the capstone of his scholarly career. A former Acting Editor and Managing Editor of The New Republic, he holds a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia.

RENÉE M. LANDERS is Associate Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School and former president of the Boston Bar Association. She was the first woman of color and the first law professor to serve as president of the bar association.  She has been an associate and counsel at Ropes & Gray, served as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration.  Landers has served as a member of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and the Supreme Judicial Court Committee to Study Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts and the Gender Bias Study Committee. Before entering government service, she taught at Boston College Law School where she also received her J.D.  With Lawrence Friedman, she is the co-author of Domestic Electronic Surveillance and the Constitution, forthcoming in the John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law

Judge Richard A. Posner sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and served as Chief Judge of the Court from 1993 to 2000. He is also Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School where he has taught since 1969. A prodigious scholar and prolific writer, Judge Posner has authored more than 15 books on law, legal theory, history, and politics, and has published widely in legal and economic journals, as well as the popular press. His most recent books are Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11 (2005) and Uncertain Shield: The U.S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform (2006). Judge Posner clerked for Justice William Brennan, Jr.

Moderator: Jeffrey Rosen is Professor of Law at The George Washington University and Legal Affairs Editor of The New Republic. He is the author of The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America (2001), The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age (2004), and most recently, The Most Democratic Branch: How Our Courts Serve America (2006). Rosen’s essays and book reviews have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer. He is also heard regularly on National Public Radio.

SESSION 2—2:15–3:30 p.m.
Deciding Justice: What Makes a Decision a Good Decision?

Akhil Reed Amar is Southmayd Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the author or coauthor of several books, including the award-winning The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (1998) and the critically acclaimed America’s Constitution: A Biography (2005). Amar’s essays and opinion pieces appear regularly in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, and Slate. He clerked for Judge Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

Marci Hamilton holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. She is a prominent scholar in the area of law and religion and the author of God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law (2005). Hamilton has been a constitutional advisor for victims in numerous clergy abuse cases in the Philadelphia archdiocese and was lead counsel for the City of Boerne, Texas, in Boerne v. Flores, in which the Supreme Court held the Religious Freedom Restoration Act unconstitutional. She clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Mary-Rose Papandrea is Assistant Professor of Law at Boston College Law School where she teaches courses in “Constitutional Law,” “Defamation and Privacy Law,” and “National Security & Civil Liberties.” After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, Papandrea worked as a litigator in Washington, D.C., specializing in First Amendment and media defense litigation. She clerked for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice David Souter.

Moderator: Lincoln Caplan is a Visiting Fellow at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center and the former Editor and President of Legal Affairs, which was a finalist for a National Magazine Award this year for general excellence and public interest. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker and is a regular contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other outlets. He is the author of five books on legal topics, including The Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law (1987) and Up Against the Law: Affirmative Action and the Supreme Court (1997).

SESSION 3—3:45–5:00 p.m.
The Supreme Court, Jurisprudence, and Presidential Powers

Jack Landman Goldsmith joined the Bush administration in 2002, working first in the general counsel’s office at the Pentagon and then serving as Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. In the summer of 2004, Goldsmith left the Justice Department to teach at Harvard Law School where he is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law. He has also taught at University of Virginia Law School and University of Chicago Law School, and served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He is the author (with Eric Posner) of The Limits of International Law (2005) and (with Tim Wu) Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World (2006).

Anthony Lewis began his distinguished career in journalism as deskman for the Sunday New York Times in 1948. He later moved to the Washington Daily News where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for articles on the federal government’s loyalty security program. He then returned to the Times, reporting first from Washington and then from Europe as London Bureau Chief before becoming Editorial Columnist, a position he held for 32 years. In 1963 he won his second Pulitzer Prize, for his Supreme Court reporting. His books include Gideon’s Trumpet (1964), Portrait of a Decade: The Second American Revolution (1964), and Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment (1992).

Dahlia Lithwick, a Senior Editor and Legal Correspondent for Slate magazine, 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 Reno, Nevada, and clerked for Procter Hug, Chief Justice of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, Commentary, New York Times, Washington Post, Elle, and on She is a weekly legal commentator for the NPR show, Day to Day. She is coauthor of Me v. Everybody: Absurd Contracts for an Absurd World (2003), a legal humor book.

Moderator: Randall Kennedy is the Michael R. Kline Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where he focuses his research on the intersection of racial conflict and legal institutions in American life. He is the author of Race, Crime and the Law (1997), Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (2002) and Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity and Adoption (2003). Additionally, Kennedy has published numerous collections of shorter works. Many of his articles can be found in periodicals such as The American Prospect, The Nation, and The Atlantic Monthly. A Rhodes Scholar, Kennedy served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.


Updated: October 19, 2006
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