The Association recently kicked off the bar year with a luncheon featuring Professor David Strauss of the University of Chicago Law School. Held on October 1, 2015, at the Union League Club in Chicago, attendees earned valuable CLE credit as Professor Strauss provided keen insight on significant cases the Supreme Court will decide this term.
ALA President Michael A. Scodro opened the luncheon by welcoming ALA members and guests, which included judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the Illinois Appellate Court.
Thereafter, Professor Strauss—who has argued 18 cases before the High Court and also serves as co-editor of the Supreme Court Review—began his remarks by noting that, while the upcoming term may not involve a once-in-a-lifetime decision, the Supreme Court will address many significant issues. Of note, the Court will hear two seemingly repeat cases from recent terms.
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 14-981, the justices will once again consider affirmative action in university admissions under the equal protection clause and the Fourteenth Amendment. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, 14-915, the Supreme Court will again take up the issue of whether mandatory public sector union dues violate the First Amendment. Professor Strauss commented that it is unusual for the Court to revisit issues from previous terms, but cautioned that it could not serve as a prediction for how the Court will ultimately rule.
Professor Strauss also discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to address the one-person, one-vote doctrine under the equal protection clause. In Evenwel v. Abbott, 14-940, the justices will decide whether the doctrine is based on total population, or must be based on total voter population, when apportioning state legislative districts. Professor Strauss noted that the case could have major political implications, as non-citizens historically tend to congregate toward urban areas.
Professor Strauss closed the luncheon with a question-and-answer session. In doing so, Professor Strauss agreed with a questioner that the Supreme Court appears to be more willing to take a case from the top down, that is, use concurring and dissenting opinions to signal to the bar that an issue is ripe for review.
The Association thanks Professor Strauss for his engaging and insightful comments.