An Unprecedented Court

Thursday, March 31 | 7:30-9pm

We examine the nation’s top court and its power to determine the direction of a host of hot button issues. With the court's actions to leave an abortion law in place last fall, we look to what the public should expect in laws on privacy and reproductive rights this spring. As the court signals its willingness to reconsider precedents, we will look at what other laws may be up for grabs. Our expert panel will examine how the current court see issues like gay marriage, gun rights, and religion from various perspectives. 

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Michael Gerhardt
Constitutional Law Professor at the University of North Carolina

Michael Gerhardt joined the Carolina Law faculty in 2005 and serves as the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence. His teaching and research focuses on constitutional conflicts between presidents and Congress. Gerhardt is the author of seven books, including “Lincoln’s Mentors” (Harper Collins, 2021), and leading treatises on impeachment, appointments, presidential power, Supreme Court precedent, and separation of powers. He has written more than a hundred law review articles and dozens of op eds in the nation’s leading news publications, including SCOTUSblog, The New York Times, and Washington Post. He was inducted into the American Law Institute in 2016. 

Gerhardt’s extensive public service has included his testifying more than 20 times before Congress, including as the only joint witness in the Clinton impeachment proceedings in the House; speaking behind closed doors to the entire House of Representatives about the history of impeachment in 1998; serving as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee for eight of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices; and as one of four constitutional scholars called by the House Judiciary Committee during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings. During the Clinton and first Trump impeachment proceedings, Gerhardt served as an impeachment expert for CNN. In the second impeachment trial of President Trump, he was an expert commentator for CNN, Fox, and MSNBC and served as special counsel to the Presiding Officer, Senator Patrick Leahy. 


Melissa Murray
Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law at NYU School of Law

Melissa Murray is the Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, where she teaches constitutional law, family law, criminal law, and reproductive rights and justice. Her writing has appeared in a range of legal and lay publications, including the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Nation. Prior to joining the NYU Law faculty, Murray was the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where she received the law school’s Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction, the Association of American Law School’s Derrick A. Bell Award, and, from March 2016 to June 2017, served as interim dean of the law school.

Murray serves a legal analyst for MSNBC and is a co-host of Strict Scrutiny, a podcast about the Supreme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it.  A graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale Law School, Murray clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, then a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Stefan Underhill of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. She is a member of the American Law Institute and the New York bar.

Jed Shugerman
Author, The People's Courts; Fordham Law School Professor

Jed Handelsman Shugerman is a Professor at Fordham Law School. He received his J.D. and Ph.D. (History) from Yale. His book, The People’s Courts (Harvard U. Press 2012), traces the rise of judicial elections, judicial review, and the influence of money and parties in American courts. It is based on his dissertation that won the 2009 ASLH’s Cromwell Prize. During the Trump administration, he wrote frequently for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, Politico, and the Atlantic and appeared frequently on MSNBC and CNN on the Mueller investigation and impeachment. He has been a co-author of amicus briefs on presidential power, the Emoluments Clauses, the Appointments Clause, the First Amendment rights of elected judges, and death penalty cases. He won the Charles Fried Prize from Harvard Law School’s Federalist Society chapter in 2011 for teaching and commitment to intellectual diversity.

He is currently working on two books on the history of executive power and prosecution in America: A Faithful President: The Founders vs. the “Originalists” and The Prosecutor Politicians: The Roots of Mass Incarceration in America. The first book draws on his recent articles in the Harvard Law Review, the Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities. 

Gary Lawson
Philip S. Beck Professor of Law, Boston University

Gary Lawson came to Boston University in January 2000; he was named the Philip S. Beck Professor of Law in 2012. He has authored eight editions of a textbook on administrative law and has co-authored a textbook on constitutional law. He has authored or co-authored nearly one hundred scholarly articles and five university pressbooks on topics ranging from aspects of constitutional theory and history to the proof of legal propositions.

Professor Lawson is a founding member, and serves on the Board of Directors, of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Heritage Guide to The Constitution, a reference tool for legal scholars. In 2017, he received a Metcalf Prize for teaching from Boston University. Professor Lawson twice clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, first at the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then at the United States Supreme Court.

What is Hot Buttons, Cool Conversations?

If you enjoy a lively exchange of ideas on today’s hot button topics, the JCC’s acclaimed discussion series is for you. We bring together distinguished scholars, thought leaders and expert moderators for thought-provoking dialogue on issues of concern to the Jewish community and beyond.

The series is named in honor of Jonathan Samen (z”l), past chair of the JCC Greater Boston Governing Board, to recognize his legacy of leadership. View donors.

All JCC arts and humanities offerings are programs of the Ryna Greenbaum JCC Center for the Arts. As a 501(c)(3), JCC Greater Boston does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office or political parties.

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