Despite today’s stormy weather, two constitutional law professors from Yale and William-and-Mary College are speaking at Drake University on how the next U-S Supreme Court Justice will be chosen. Thomas Baker directs Drake’s Constitutional Law Center. It’s been seven years, the second-longest gap in U-S history without a new Supreme Court appointment. Baker says it’s been difficult in the last few cases to avoid political-style battles over the nominations. Partisan bickering and showdowns like the Bork nomination that turned into a kind of “civil war” within the senate. Baker says though we’ve had well-publicized campaigns for and against nominees in the last decade and a half, it wasn’t until 1940 that a nominee even appeared publicly before Congress. The public nature of the process is recent, and televised hearings weren’t really seen since Bork 14 years ago. Baker says there will be a great deal riding on the next nomination, whenever it comes up. The next justice will decide the balance of power on issues where the court’s divided five-to-four now.The court’s docket includes everything from free speech to grandparents’ rights to visit grandchildren, things affecting every American. Because of the threat of weather cutting attendance, the symposium will accept registrations at the door, though it costs fifty dollars. The event is at Cartwright Hall on the Drake campus.
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