USC Provost Professor Lee Epstein addresses Supreme Court history

Katey Duffy, Writer

The Phi Beta Kappa Lecture Series hosted Lee Epstein who spoke about “The U.S. Supreme Court Today … and Tomorrow” on Feb. 20 in the Elaine Langone Center Forum.

Epstein, a provost professor of law and political science at the University of Southern California, stressed the importance of Justice Anthony Kennedy. She highlighted Kennedy’s power in Supreme Court cases in terms of moving the court to the right or left with the current conservative to moderately conservative court.

“We are all living in Anthony Kennedy’s world,” Epstein said.

The current Supreme Court will be facing four major controversial topics this year, and Epstein suggests that justices will vote along ideological party lines. The justices will be making tough decisions on abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, and gun control.

Epstein said that the political views of the judges highly reflect changes in our laws. She described this concept through a metaphor that uses baseball cards, which was first developed by the well-known political scientist C. Herman Pritchett. In this model each card has specific statistics for each Supreme Court Justice.

“Laws change as judges come and go!” Epstein said.

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