On November 18, 2015, the Association hosted a luncheon at the Union League Club in Chicago featuring Dean Daniel W. Hamilton of the William S. Boyd School of Law (University of Nevada-Las Vegas).
Dean Hamilton brought many Association members and guests back to their law school days, as he delivered an educational presentation on the history of the United States and its federal court system. During the late 1700’s and the 1800’s, the United States Supreme Court was not regarded as an equal to the President or Congress. Many Association members and guests were taught that the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison established that Court’s power as the final arbiter on the law and the meaning of the Constitution, but Dean Hamilton noted that academia no longer views the Marbury decision in that light. He said the strength of the Court has always depended upon the will of the people, who at that time viewed the President as more powerful. Had the President publicly criticized that decision, the public would likely have followed the president.
Dean Hamilton also noted that public perception of the Court has grown out of its decisions directed at commerce. Dean Hamilton suggested that there was concern about the public outcry after the Bush v. Gore and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decisions. Dean Hamilton believed that Chief Justice John Roberts is currently attempting to recapture some public support for the Court (and its powers) through its recent decisions concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The ALA thanks Dean Hamilton for a dynamic and enthusiastic luncheon, and all of the guests for their attendance.