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Supreme Court Review (16th Annual): October 2013 Term

Speaker(s): Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Joan Biskupic, Kannon K. Shanmugam, Martin A. Schwartz, Professor Burt Neuborne, Professor Leon Friedman, Professor Marci A. Hamilton, Professor Michael C. Dorf, Professor Sherry F. Colb
Recorded on: Jul. 29, 2014
PLI Program #: 49535

Kannon Shanmugam is a partner at Williams & Connolly focusing on Supreme Court and appellate litigation.  He has been recognized by numerous publications as one of the nation’s leading Supreme Court and appellate advocates.  He has argued 17 cases before the Supreme Court, including three cases in the 2014-2015 term.  Last year, he broke Edward Bennett Williams' record for the most Supreme Court arguments by a lawyer in the firm's history.

Mr. Shanmugam joined Williams & Connolly in 2008 after serving as an Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice.  He was the first lawyer to join the firm directly as a partner for 22 years.  Born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, he received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College; his M. Litt. from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was executive editor of the Harvard Law Review.  He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and for Judge J. Michael Luttig on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Leon Friedman is the Joseph Kushner Special Professor of Civil Liberties Law professor at Hofstra Law School, teaching constitutional law and copyright. He is also a practicing lawyer, specializing in civil rights, First Amendment and intellectual property. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of the Harvard Law School. He served for a time a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.

He has written or edited over a dozen books and has published over 100 articles in various law journals, newspapers and magazines. Among his works are The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Decisions, 4th edition (Facts on File, 2013). The original edition of this work won the Scribes Award in 1970 as the best book on a legal subject published that year. Other books include The Supreme Court Confronts Abortion,  Southern Justice, The Civil Rights Reader, Brown v. Board of Education, Obscenity, The Wise Minority,  Unquestioning Obedience to the President (with Burt Neuborne) and Disorder in the Court (with Norman Dorsen)

He has written or worked on briefs for the United States Supreme Court in many important cases dealing with the First Amendment (Simon & Schuster v. Members of the New York State Crime Victims Board, Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, Grove Press v. Maryland Board of Censors, Carroll v. Princess Anne County) copyright (Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music ) civil rights, employment discrimination, Criminal Procedure, and abuse of government power.

He also practices in the area of copyright, employment discrimination and civil rights. He has represented a number of publishers, including Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Arcade Publishers, Chelsea House Publishers, as well as many authors including I. B. Singer, Susan Sontag, John McPhee, Stephen Spender, Hunter Thompson, Oscar Hijuelos, as well as the estates of Edith Wharton, T.S. Eliot. C.S. Forester and Daphne du Murier. Among his other clients have been James Brown, the Isley Brothers and Kathleen Turner. He is the general counsel for PEN American Center and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

MARCI A. HAMILTON is one of the United States’ leading church/state scholars and is a Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also the Academic Director and Chairman of the Board of CHILD USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to preventing and deterring child abuse and neglect.  She holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Emeritus, at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

She was also the Academic Curator for the National Constitution Center’s 2015 Religious Liberty Exhibit and a contributor on the Establishment Clause to the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution project.

Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  She successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), and is considered the foremost national scholar and advocate for the victims of extreme religious liberty, including the RFRAs and RLUIPA.   She also hosts, which tracks and analyzes free exercise statutes in all 50 states and the federal government.

Hamilton is the author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press 2014), which was nominated for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize; Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press 2008); God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press 2005), which received Foreword Magazine’s Political Science Book of the Year, Silver Medal; and the co-editor of Fundamentalism, Politics and the Law (Palgrave Macmillan with Mark Rozell 2011); and numerous scholarly articles. She is also a bi-monthly columnist for  Her blog with Professor Leslie Griffin on religious liberty, women’s rights, and children’s rights can be found at   Her textbook, Children and the Law, co-authored with Martin Gardner, will be published 2016-17 by Carolina Academic Press, formerly Lexis/Nexis.

As a result of her research on clergy sex abuse, Hamilton is a tireless advocate for access to justice for child sex abuse victims and a national leader in the movement to eliminate statutes of limitations in child sex abuse cases.  She has represented numerous survivors across the United States and submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred and hosts, which tracks and provides analysis about the SOL movement in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and around the globe.  She has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and in other courts.

Hamilton has been honored with the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; the  2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship, 2008; and selected as a Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award, 2012, among others.   She is also frequently quoted in the national media on RFRA, RLUIPA, First Amendment, clergy sex abuse, and statute of limitations issues.

Professor Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, B.A., summa cum laude; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (English, fiction writing, High Honors); M.A. (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.   She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.

Burt Neuborne is one of the nation’s foremost civil liberties lawyers, teachers, and scholars. He is the founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Neuborne has served as national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, special counsel to the National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, and member of the New York City Human Rights Commission. He challenged the constitutionality of the Vietnam War, worked on the Pentagon Papers case, worked with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she headed the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and anchored the ACLU’s legal program during the Reagan years. At the Brennan Center, he has concentrated on campaign finance reform and efforts to reform the democratic process. In recent years, Neuborne has served as principal counsel in cases that have resulted in the payment of $7.5 billion to Holocaust victims. He has received the University-wide Distinguished Teaching Award and been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his best-known scholarly works is the two-volume Political and Civil Rights in the United States, which he co-authored with NYU colleagues Norman Dorsen and Sylvia Law, and Paul Bender. In 1996, Neuborne appeared as Jerry Falwell’s lawyer in the Milos Forman movie The People vs. Larry Flynt. His new book, “Madison’s Music:” On Reading the First Amendment, was published in 2015 by The New Press.


Constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, appellate litigation


Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science.

Previously, he taught at Duke Law School for four years, during which he won the Duke University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award in 2006. Before that, he taught for 21 years at the University of Southern California School of Law. Chemerinsky has also taught at UCLA School of Law and DePaul University College of Law.

His areas of expertise are constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He is the author of eight books, most recently The Case Against the Supreme Court, to be published by Viking in September 2014, and more than 200 articles in top law reviews. He frequently argues cases before the nation’s highest courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and also serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media. He writes a weekly column for the Orange County Register, monthly columns for the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. In January 2014, National Jurist magazine named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

Chemerinsky holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

Michael C. Dorf has written over eighty scholarly articles and essays on constitutional law and related subjects. He is the co-author (with Laurence Tribe) of On Reading the Constitution (Harvard University Press, 1991), the co-author (with Trevor Morrison) of The Oxford Introductions to U.S. Law: Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2010), the editor of Constitutional Law Stories (Foundation Press 2004, second edition 2009), the author of No Litmus Test: Law Versus Politics in the 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), and a co-editor of the 12th edition of the Choper et al Constitutional Law casebook (West, 2015). His latest book (with co-author Sherry Colb) is Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights (Columbia University Press, 2016). Professor Dorf writes a bi-weekly column for Justia's web magazine Verdict and posts several times per week on his blog, Dorf on Law

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he spent the year between college and law school as a Rotary Scholar at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. During that time he co-authored three articles for refereed physics journals. After law school, Professor Dorf served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

His work as a paid lawyer has included a constitutional challenge to NAFTA in the D.C. Circuit and he maintains an active pro bono practice that includes the writing of amicus briefs in Supreme Court cases. Before joining the Cornell faculty, Professor Dorf taught at Rutgers-Camden Law School for three years and at Columbia Law School for thirteen years. At Columbia, he was Vice Dean from 1998-2002 and when he left, was the Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law.

Professor Emeritus of Law Martin A. Schwartz taught evidence at Touro Law Center for 28 years. He is the author of Trial Evidence Brought to Life: Illustrations from Famous Trials, Film and Fiction (PLI, 2015). He is one of the nation's leading authorities on Section 1983 civil rights litigation and is the author of a multi-volume treatise on that subject, of which one volume is Section 1983 Litigation: Federal Evidence.  He has argued three cases in the United States Supreme Court.  He has been a columnist for the New York Law Journal for 45 years. He also chairs the Practising Law Institute’s program on Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation, and co-chairs the Supreme Court Review program.  He is the author of the soon to be published Essential Trial Evidence (PLI, 2017).

Sherry F. Colb is Professor of Law & Charles Evans Hughes Scholar at Cornell Law School. She earned an A.B. from Columbia College (Valedictorian) and a J.D. from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude).  After graduation, Colb clerked for Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court. She was a member of the Rutgers University School of Law faculty in Newark when she joined the Cornell faculty in 2008 and has held the position of Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and Columbia Law School. Her research and teaching interests center on issues of constitutional criminal procedure (especially the Fourth Amendment), animal rights, sexual equality, and evidence. Colb’s scholarship has appeared in the Stanford Law Review, the New York University Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and elsewhere. She has published a book about the modern challenges of sex equality, When Sex Counts: Making Babies and Making Law (Rowman & Littlefield 2007), and she has a book about veganism and animal rights, “Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?” and Other Questions People Ask Vegans (Lantern 2013).  Most recently, she has co-authored a book about animal rights and abortion, Beating Hearts:  Abortion and Animal Rights (Columbia University Press 2016).  She composes a bi-weekly column on as well as regular posts on the blog, Dorf on Law. She is admitted to the New York Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

Journalist Joan Biskupic has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for twenty-five years and is the author of several books on the judiciary. She currently is a visiting professor at the University of California, Irvine, law school (on sabbatical from her position as editor-in-charge for Legal Affairs at Reuters). Her books include Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice (2014), American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (2009) and Sandra Day O’Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became its Most Influential Justice (2005). Before joining Reuters, she was Supreme Court reporter for The Washington Post and for USA Today. A graduate of Georgetown Law, she currently is a contributor to CNN and panelist on PBS’s Washington Week with Gwen Ifill. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015.