Toobin opens COSA Seminar with Supreme Court analysis

What will the Supreme Court be like if Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed?

Author, journalist, and political commentator Jeffrey Toobin opened the Council of School Attorneys (COSA) School Law Seminar on Thursday in Denver with insights into highest court in the nation.

Before he dove into an analysis of the Supreme Court, Toobin sought to dispel a myth that the Supreme Court is removed or above politics. “It is and always has been a deeply political institution,” he said.

Toobin, who published The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court in 2007, pointed out that politics, and the political party in power, have always shaped the court. In the mid 1960s, the liberal Warren court made many landmark rulings that still resonate today. The 1970s court was almost as liberal, even though Republican Richard Nixon appointed four of the justices. In fact, the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was approved by Republican appointees. “Unthinkable today,” said Toobin.

It was the change in the Republican party, started by Ronald Reagan and solidified by George W. Bush, that made the appointees of those presidents more conservative.

Toobin said of Donald Trump’s nominee Gorsuch, “he’s an enormously intelligent, highly qualified lawyer, and he is enormously conservative and will vote with Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts.”

COSA is celebrating its 50th anniversary at the seminar, which is being held in conjunction with NSBA’s Annual Conference, and will run until Saturday.

On Friday, Mary Beth Tinker of the 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court case will join a panel discussion on “Free Speech in Public Schools:  Politics, Prose and Profanity from 1967 to the Present.”

Other topics to covered include the evolution of student discipline, data security, and Title IX compliance.

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