Supreme Court Cases

I have had the opportunity to be involved in many interesting cases that reached the United States Supreme Court.

I saw most of those cases from the perspective of a law clerk:  first to Frank Coffin, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and then to John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Later, however, I played quite different roles in two prominent cases.

The first was Edwards v. Aguillard, decided in 1987.  In that case, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana statute that required "balanced treatment" of "creation science" and "evolution science" in the public schools.  I led a team of four lawyers that prepared an amicus brief on behalf of 72 Nobel laureates and 30 state academies of science, arguing that the statute should be struck down.  The filing of the brief attracted significant attention, as it demonstrated an unprecedented consensus within the scientific community.

The second was Grutter v. Bollinger, decided in 2003.  In that case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the University of Michigan Law School's admissions policy.  As dean of the Law School, I was a named defendant and was deposed and testified at trial.  I worked closely with the legal team that represented us in court, and I was one of the university's designated public spokespersons during the litigation.  The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., honored me with its National Equal Justice Award for my work on the case.  The University of Michigan continues to maintain a comprehensive web site about the litigation (here).