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- Judge William Keith Watkins- Middle District of Alabama
In her book, The Story: A Reporter's Journey, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller describes going to jail to protect her sources in the investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame over a decade ago. Her book catalogs new information that raises questions about the investigation. Bestselling author Arthur Herman led our discussion with the author.
It is the year 4300 in an imaginary jurisdiction named Newgarth. Old questions dominate the deliberations of the Supreme Court as Chief Justice Truepenny and his four colleagues present their opinions in the appeal of a notorious murder verdict. Each Justice presents and defends his analysis and disposition of the appeal. The opinions offer considered views of law, justice, judges' work and larger public opinion. No pale pastels for the Truepenny Court, as its members alternately resort to the broad brush and the fine scalpel. The final effect is one of a well written teaching tool and also an essay on our flawed human condition.
Prof. Lon L. Fuller, in his article, “The Case of the Speluncean Explorers,” presented his ideas in the form of a dialogue, without footnotes. The Harvard Law Review published it in February 1949. In a sense it is a work of moral imagination. In another sense it is so dated as to be almost antiquarian. The members of Supreme Court of Newgarth are male and the legal analysis they offer and the language they use are distinctly old-fashioned. In some quarters it would be regarded as a discredited tool of oppression. That said, Prof. Fuller still entertains and teaches the reader, 65 years later. The questions and worries that lawyers and judges share with the Justices of Newgarth still loom in the 21st century.
Our discussion panel was composed of legal scholars from Canada, Australia, and the United States. In a real sense, its diversity shows the continuing relevance and appeal of this legal classic.
In Mata v. Lynch, the Court overturned the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to hear an appeal of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision to dismissal of Noel Reyes Mata’s request to appeal his deportation to Mexico, holding that the Fifth Circuit erred in declining to take jurisdiction over Mr. Mata’s appeal.
In Kerry v. Din, the Court overturned the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that petitioner Fauzia Din was denied constitutional due process protections when her husband, Kanishka Berashk, a resident citizen of Afghanistan and a former civil servant in the Taliban regime, was denied an immigration visa to the United States on the grounds that he was inadmissable under American law that excludes aliens who have engaged in “[t]errorist activities,” and when Mrs. Din and Mr. Berashk were subsequently denied review of their appeal in U.S. District Court. The Court held that the U.S. Government’s long practice of regulating immigration, which has included erecting serious impediments to a person’s ability to bring a spouse into the United States, precludes Mrs. Din’s claim.
Our expert, Chapman University School of Law Prof. John C. Eastman, analyzed these opinions and offered his perspectives of their impact on immigration policy.
In their new book, The Constitution: An Introduction, constitutional scholar Michael Stokes Paulsen and his son, Luke Paulsen, write a lively modern primer on the U.S. Constitution. Beginning with the Constitution’s birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation. In a review published in Engage, the Law Journal of the Federalist Society, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito praises the book’s unique format: “Professor Paulsen and his son began this collaboration when Luke was in high school and continued throughout his college years at Princeton. It is easy to imagine this process as a conversation between a father, who has been immersed in the study of the Constitution for his entire adult life, and a bright son, who brings a new perspective and challenges the father to explain and defend.” Justice Alito goes on to say that the book “invites readers to become personally engaged in the discussion of the Constitution that began in the fall of 1787 when the citizens of the states debated ratification.” In this spirit of debate, both of the authors joined University of Richmond School of Law Professor Kevin Walsh and answered audience questions on a Teleforum conference call.