Interest in the U.S. Supreme Court increases when a hot-button case comes before it. In recent years, as the nation has become more divided and extremely divisive cases have found their way before the high court, the spotlight is the judges.
“It’s kind of a constant drumbeat, issue after issue,” said Noah Feldman, a Harvard University professor, author and contributing writer for The New York Times, who is considered an expert in the Supreme Court.
He’ll share his views on the court’s current cases and what it could be presiding over in the future when he delivers the Max Rosenn Lecture on Law and Humanities on April 28 at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre. The free event will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center and is open to the public.
Feldman’s presentation is titled “The Supreme Court: What’s Happening Now and What The Future Holds.”
During a conference call with reporters Thursday, Feldman said he believed the executive office is still the most powerful of the three branches of government, but the judicial branch is “a lot more powerful than anyone thought they’d be 225 years ago.”
The nine-member court has long been the body that’s set, upheld or overturned the law of the land. And as technology has evolved and the courts are being used to legislate, the panel has been tasked each session with even more divisive and far-reaching cases.
“The fact we’re so deeply divided as a society is the reason the court has been so powerful,” Feldman said. As part of his lecture at Wilkes, said Feldman, he hopes to discuss the way the court has evolved, talk about some of the great justices in its history and how they’ve influenced contemporary justices.
He intends to address the big cases the court recently has ruled on and the ones currently before it or that could be in front of it next session.
Throughout its history, the court has seen high-profile cases; but they’ve been sporadic and typically attention is focused on the justices for a year or two. This court has seen the spotlight constantly. “Now it’s like it never stops,” Feldman said. First it was Guantanamo, then it was health care, now it’s same-sex marriage.
“These are all totally different subjects, but they’ve been dominating our national conversations,” Feldman said.
He said young people who don’t necessarily follow the news or the court system should realize the court is “tremendously important. Possibly more important than you might think.”
Feldman writes a weekly column for Bloomberg View and was named by Esquire magazine as one of the “75 most influential people of the 21st century.”