The USC Gould School of Law’s sixth annual “U.S. Supreme Court: A Preview” event was held Tuesday evening at USC’s Town and Gown. The event highlighted a discussion on Supreme Court cases that have occurred this year.
The event featured two prominent guest panelists: Gregory Garre, the 44th Solicitor General of the United States and The Honorable Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California. Rebecca Brown, Newton Professor of Constitutional Law at the Gould School, organized and marketed the event.
“We publicize it through the school. I talk to my students about it and now, after 5 years, it has a reputation that helps people get the word out,” Brown said.
She emphasized that all students can benefit from attending the event, regardless of major.
“We bring in two invited experts on the Supreme Court and the Constitution and we try to understand what we should be watching for in the upcoming term and why it’s important, why it matters, to all of us,” Brown said.
The event featured discussion on controversial docket cases, such as Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway, which challenged local clergy’s right to offer Christian prayers before a town’s monthly meetings, and McCullen v. Coakley, which contended that a buffer zone surrounding abortion clinics in Massachusetts infringed on First Amendment rights.
“It’s interesting understanding the past and future of Supreme Court cases because it’s something that most students, at least in my experience, aren’t exposed to on a day-to-day basis,” said Kyle Goguen, a graduate student in engineering management.
The issues focused on by the panelists are not only controversial, but also applicable to all citizens of the United States. The choice of docket cases to discuss represented issues that were important to the United States this year.
“This one [event] is specifically focused on the Supreme Court and I don’t know of any other event that does this, so, by definition, because the court is hearing those particular issues then it’s confined to those issues,” Brown said. “It’s not just any issues, it’s what is the court going to have on its docket and what do they expect to happen and what should we be watching for or thinking about.”
Many USC students and alumni who attended for various reasons found value in the presentation.
“The law affects everyone,” said Gonzalo Gambino, a senior majoring in industrial systems engineering.
Some students saw the event as a chance to meet and hear from high-profile panelists.
“Look at the names that make it out to our campus [and] the opportunities you have to hear from people like this,” said Francisco Iturbe, a senior majoring in civil engineering. Iturbe believes that this event will attract prospective students to USC because it not only benefits USC Gould School of Law’s reputation, but USC’s reputation as a whole.
Others thought it was a good opportunity to hear experts’ opinions on what cases were important this year.
Josefin Baldeh, a student in the USC Master of Law program, said it helped her “just get a hint of what’s important in the U.S. legal system.”
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