Storm Center The History of the Supreme Court

Storm Center:  The History of the Supreme Court
A Summer Institute for Idaho Teachers - July 12-17, 2009

Supreme Court ParticipantsThirty teachers attended the 2009 institute, Storm Center:  The History of the Supreme Court.  It featured an examination and discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court, including an historical overview of the development of the Court, its inner-workings, its relations with Congress and the Presidency, and the landmark decisions that have defined its role in American history.  The timely topic also provided an opportunity for participants to watch portions of the hearings for the recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sotomayor, observing first-hand the appointment process.

The texts included:  Storm Center:  The Supreme Court in American Politics by David M. O’Brien, The Great Chief Justice:  John Marshall and the Rule of Law by Charles F. Hobson, and The Supreme Court:  The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America by Jeffrey Rosen.  Daily topics focused on the Creation and Early Days of the Supreme Court; Origins and Development of Judicial Review; Appointments to the Court; Historical Overview of the Personalities and Rivalries that have Shaped the Court; the Court and the Bill of Rights; Liberty and Equality; The Court and the Presidency; Idaho and the Supreme Court; and the Future of the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Institute PosterThe lead scholars were David Adler, Professor of Political Science at Idaho State University, and Steve Shaw, Professor of Political Science at Northwest Nazarene University.  The keynote address was delivered by David O’Brien, author of Storm Center:  The Supreme Court in American Politics.  Other guest speakers included Nancy Kassop, State University of New York, The Supreme Court Since 9/11; Kerry Hunter, College of Idaho, Judicial Review in New Zealand:  A Comparison; Don Crowley, University of Idaho, The Roberts Court in the Obama Era; Marc Johnson, The Gallatin Group, Packing the Supreme Court:  FDR’s Biggest Political Blunder and the Gravest Constitutional Crisis Since the Civil War.  Participants also watched a two-part public television documentary companion piece to the Rosen text about the Supreme Court.  A highlight of the week was the guest appearance of Allen Derr, the lawyer who successfully argued the Idaho case Reed v. Reed about Equal Protection for Women before the Supreme Court in 1971.

Evaluations from participants gave high marks to the week.  Sample comments: