With highly contested social issues on its docket and with three justices appointed by President Donald Trump on its bench, the Supreme Court commands our attention this year. This class will look behind the headlines to examine the Court as an institution: one that, in exercising its power to set its own agenda, inevitably sets the legal and even the political agenda for the country as a whole.
How does the Court select which cases to decide? Who gets to speak to the court on behalf of the many groups and individuals with a stake in the outcome of each case? How are the Court’s opinions assigned and its decisions arrived at? What is the role of precedent in the American legal system? What about the Court’s so-called shadow docket, and how has it changed? In addition to addressing these questions, we will also look at recent proposals for changing the Court’s structure and operation to increase its transparency. Students will emerge better equipped to penetrate the Court’s mysteries and evaluate its performance.
In-person master classes last a full school day. Teachers spend three hours working with the faculty member. During the remainder of the day, participants will have the rare opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies with other brilliant educators who share their passion for the day’s topic. Both parts of the day are highly prized.
Linda Greenhouse was the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times for nearly thirty years. Following her retirement from daily journalism in 2008, she began a second career teaching at Yale Law School, where she had received a master’s degree in the study of law in 1978. She has taught several courses centered on the Supreme Court, and is currently the faculty director of the law school’s Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic.
During her journalism career, Linda won several major awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the Supreme Court. Her commentary and opinion pieces on the Court have appeared regularly on the New York Times op-ed page. Her articles have also appeared in The Atlantic and the New York Review of Books. Her latest book, her sixth, is Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months that Transformed the Supreme Court, published in November 2021 by Random House.