Press Release

Sandra Day O’Connor to Discuss Judicial Independence at Academy Program in New York, Nov. 6


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will discuss current challenges faced by the federal and state courts in a climate of heightened partisanship, expensive election campaigns, and attacks on judicial independence at an American Academy of Arts and Sciences symposium at New York University School of Law on Thursday, November 6, 2008. She will also participate in a panel discussion moderated by Linda Greenhouse, the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence at Yale Law School and former Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times.

Justice O'Connor has made judicial independence a signature project following her retirement from the Supreme Court in 2005. Congress has taken steps to control the judicial branch, including consideration of limiting the ability of federal judges to travel and prohibiting them from citing foreign law. Both federal and state judges believe that the matter of compensation is a major threat to the independence of their branch. These issues benefit both from public conversation and scholarly inquiry.

WHAT: Symposium on Judicial Independence

Sandra Day O’Connor, Associate Justice (retired), Supreme Court of the United States.
Linda Greenhouse, moderator, Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence, Yale Law School, former Supreme Court correspondent, The New York Times.
John Sexton, President, New York University.
Richard Revesz, Dean, New University School of Law.
Judith Resnik ’75, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School.
Viet D. Dinh, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center.
Bert Brandenberg, Executive Director, Justice at Stake.

WHEN: Thursday, November 6, 2008, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

WHERE: NYU School of Law, Tishman Auditorium, 40 Washington Square South

This event is sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with NYU School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ project on the Independence of the Judiciary began in 2002 as an effort to examine the relationship between the Supreme Court and Congress. At that time, the Court was striking down a series of federal civil rights statutes on the grounds that Congress lacked the constitutional authority to enact them. Nothing like that had happened between the Court and Congress since the New Deal. In response, the Academy formed a committee to determine how it could act as a neutral arbiter to examine the many dimensions of the relationship between Congress and the Court. It organized a series of closed-door meetings among stakeholders – namely, Supreme Court Justices and key players on the Hill – to facilitate a conversation. Off-the-record meetings involving federal judges, members of the congressional judiciary committees, legal scholars, and political scientists resulted in insightful discussions about ways to improve relations.

The symposium coincides with the publication of an issue of the Academy’s quarterly journal, Dædalus, on the theme of judicial independence. Guest-edited by Linda Greenhouse, it contains a collection of essays by such eminent scholars and practitioners as: Stephen Breyer, Bert Brandenburg, Stephen Burbank, Viet Dinh, Ronald George, Charles Geyh, Bruce Hardy, Vicki Jackson, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Margaret Marshall, Ruth McGregor, Sandra Day O’Connor, Robert Post, Judith Resnik, Roy A. Schotland, Senator Charles Schumer, and J. Harvie Wilkinson III. The Academy assembled this issue of Daedalus in collaboration with Georgetown University Law Center.




The Independence of the Judiciary

Jesse Herbert Choper and Robert Charles Post