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Debate Defends Democracy: Is a Politics-Free SCOTUS Possible?

Politics have never been far from the Supreme Court. Are there dangers in changing traditions of the highest court, or has the time for reform arrived?

This is a virtual event.
  • Alicia Bannon
  • ,
  • Aaron Tang
  • ,
  • Franita Tolson
  • Emily Bazelon
Politics-Free SCOTUS

Moderator Emily Bazelon, staff writer, New York Times Magazine, is joined by Alicia Bannon, managing director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice; Aaron Tang, professor of law, University of California, Davis School of Law; and Franita Tolson, vice dean for faculty and academic affairs and professor of law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law to look at the Supreme Court, its history, construct, and role to interpret the Constitution and dispense justice equally above the churn of politics.

Politics, however, has never been far from the Court. Now, as in other historical moments, the character of SCOTUS is being challenged. There is growing momentum behind a broader push to ensure fair representation for the nation’s larger and more diverse electorate across all branches of government, including the Court. Are there dangers in changing traditions of the highest court, or has the time for reform arrived?

The panel will explore questions such as: Does lifetime tenure for nine justices offer the best construct for the Court? Why are there calls for reform now, and what are the merits of the various proposals being put forth? Is retaining the fixed structure of the Court essential to sustaining its legitimacy?

Federal Hall’s Sam Roberts introduces the program which is presented with the Brennan Center for Justice.

Submit a question via by May 13 and we will share it with the moderator.

DEBATE DEFENDS DEMOCRACY is presented by the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy at Federal Hall in partnership with New York University and the National Park Service.

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