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Supreme Court Workshop Fellows

Eliza Ezrapour, '18

Major: Geography Modified with Law

Eliza EzrapourAt Dartmouth, I have pursued every possible opportunity to study law. “The Ethics of Power” showed me the extent to which the law allows for the discretion and how this can manifest positively and destructively. “Federal Indian Law” with Professor Duthu denotes a shift in my contemplation of the law. I was studying Supreme Court decisions but using the skills I developed in Geography classes. I grappled with questions such as how the boundaries of a reservation create holes in legal protection phenotypically mapped onto the bodies of Native American women. Exploring these questions solidified my understanding of the connection of law to every facet of the American social structure. I decided to formally connect law to my studies, not just my extra-curriculars, and modified my Geography major with law. This modification has enabled me to explore several elements of the law as well as learn to apply it with an interdisciplinary approach. I proceeded to take “The Written Judicial Opinion.” This class gave me the technical and rhetorical skills to analyze contemporary and historic Supreme Court cases within their respective spatial and temporal contexts. “Policy Implementation” enabled me to study a different element of law, its formation, and its execution. This class provided me with a more holistic appreciation for the government bodies from the Secretary of Defense to a street-level bureaucrat and their roles in applying law.

Mae Hardback, '18

Major: Quantitative Social Sciences Major

Mae HardebackThe first and only time I’ve ever entered the Supreme Court, it took a humbling journey just to get into one of those rickety wooden seats in the back of the room. I had joined many others in a queue on a warm winter Friday evening outside the Courthouse, taking a seat on the curb after the guy before me, just as congressional staffers were leaving their offices for the weekend. Meanwhile, I was kicking myself in the head for deciding to sleep overnight in this line to watch the oral argument of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In the end, I’m glad I went for it—otherwise, I would have never known what the inside of the grand marble building looked like, what mini-injustices exist just surrounding the highest court of the land (an unofficial system of paying a poor person to hold a place in line overnight), and how deafening Clarence Thomas’s silence is. This is all to say that, I’d never quite before had the experience of watching history, activism and politics happen all at the same time right before my eyes, and it changed my life. Afterwards, I felt as though I had run a mental marathon. “Why do I want to participate?”: I’ve never felt so invigorated, so completely out of my element and hopped up on adrenaline then in that hour when I was watching that verbal spar, and I’ve always looked for my next opportunity to engage with this aspect of citizenship and find my own meaning in the crossover between justice and activism.

Alex Rounaghi, '20

Major: Government, Minor: Public Policy and History

Alex RounaghiMy interest in law developed during my time as a Juvenile Justice Commissioner for Orange County. I met with stakeholders, toured juvenile facilities, and read reports about the juvenile justice system. I became passionate about the need to have rehabilitative oriented laws and policies for minors. Over the past few years my interest in constitutional law has grown from seeing the impact of our Courts on society. In high school I was excited to see the Court assert the fundamental right to marry in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). Back then, I enjoyed the political and moral aspects of the case; after all, a political argument on same-sex marriage seemed easy to win. At the time, I did not appreciate the complex constitutional questions that were considered and that led to the decision. Today, I am happy to see the role that the courts can play in society’s progress, but I am increasingly interested in the underlying constitutional questions. Through research for classes, internship opportunities, and reading, I have begun to grasp just the tip of the iceberg of these questions. I’m very excited to learn more about constitutional law in Professor Bedi’s Constitutional Law, Development, and Theory course this winter.

Jessica Winters, '18

Major: English, Minor: African Diaspora Studies (AAAS) 

Jessica WintersI am pursuing this opportunity because ultimately, I know it will help me to grow as a person. From participating in the workshops, not only will I have the chance to engage with other students and speakers from outside of Dartmouth, I will also have the opportunity to explore a sector I have limited exposure to; in taking advantage of what Dartmouth has to offer, I think these workshops will be an excellent “culminating experience” for me in terms of using the social and public speaking skills and knowledge I have acquired in a new way. I hope to gain a better sense of what I want to do in the future, and the type of impact I want to have in my own community, by participating in the workshops. I believe that I will be an asset to have in these meetings as well. Specifically, what I can bring to these workshops are a different opinion based on my own experiences as a Black woman, as an English major and African Diaspora studies minor, and as someone that has worked closely with other students and younger children in an educational setting. I will make each and every workshop successful by doing the required pre-work, showing up on time and ready to engage with others, asking questions of the speakers and other students, and opening myself up to hearing others’ perspectives. My goal is to learn as much as I can from others.  

The cases that I think are especially interesting and exciting to me, as well as extremely relevant in my life, are Trump v. International Refugee Assistance and Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in that I have directly seen and experienced how the impending impact of these decisions will irreparably change the lives of my friends and loved ones both at Dartmouth and outside the college.

Sunny Drescher, '20

Major: Quantitative Social Science, Minor: Government and Public Policy

Sunny DrescherAfter taking Policy Implementation (PBPL46) with Professor Nachlis last spring and reading "Cop in the Hood" by Peter Moskos, I became fascinated by law enforcement policy and metrics of success. What data best measure the impact and the success of policies? What constraints does the law place upon those policies? How do criminal justice entities interact with law enforcement agencies, and how should they interact? These are the questions that inspire me to pursue a career in law and/or policy-making. Though I am intrigued by all of the cases to be examined in this workshop, I am perhaps most intrigued by Carpenter vs. United States. There will be immediate ramifications for law enforcement following the Court's decision for this case, which I think distinguishes it from other cases that might result in more incremental policy change. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors may have a new, more lenient framework in which they may accumulate evidence from cell phones, or more stringent policies regarding cell phone GPS data may make it much harder for police and prosecutors to do their job. This also poses the question of how difficult should it be for prosecutors to acquire and utilize incriminating evidence against potential defendants. The Fourth Amendment was written with protecting people's physical property in mind, and I find it incredible that judges and policy-makers now must face applying that right to the astounding technological advances that infiltrate and benefit American citizens' lives. Especially since U.S. vs. Microsoft Corp. has been added to the Supreme Court docket, I am eager to see how modernized interpretations of the Fourth Amendment play out in the coming months and years. 

Yenny Dieguez, '20

Anticipated Majors: Government and Studio Art, 

Anticipated Minor: Public Policy on a Law Track

YennyMy first term at Dartmouth, I had the opportunity of taking a Writing 5 class on the Supreme Court with professor Julie Kalish. One year later, I can confidently say that this was one of the best classes I have ever taken. Prior to taking Supreme Court, I had never given much thought to the impact of the Court beyond its role as the judiciary branch in government. Taking this course helped me understand the crucial role the Supreme Court has played in shaping our country’s history. More importantly, it made me see how the decisions of the Court continue to affect the lives of many in the United States today. One of my term-long assignments during Professor Kalish’s class involved investigating the Bank of America v. City of Miami case, one of the cases for the Court’s 2016-2017 term. This case was particularly compelling to me because I had grown up and lived my whole life in Miami, and it wasn’t long before a dry procedural legal question manifested itself into something very real and very relatable. In Bank of America v. City of Miami, the City of Miami was attempting to sue Bank of America Corp (and also Wells Fargo in a companion case) under the Fair Housing Act for using predatory and unfair lending practices. The reason why the case became so real for me was because many of the alleged victims of the claimed predatory lending practices included people from my neighborhood and even within my own family. Suddenly, I could see how something so distant as a Court decision could have a significant and direct impact on the lives of people and their communities.

Alex Brown, '19

Major: History Modified with Government, Ethics Minor

Alex BrownEasily the most influential class that I’ve taken at Dartmouth has been The Written Judicial Opinion taught by Professor Jennifer Sargent my freshman spring. I was the only freshman in a seminar of 24 where the expectations of discussion contribution and writing quality imposed by Professor Sargent were incredibly high. In this class, I discovered my absolute love for reading Supreme Court briefs, which served as the primary texts for each class session. Using rhetorical style as the lens through which to compare the different Justices, I greatly enjoyed contributing often to class discussions that acutely focused on the implications of the wording and structure of these fascinating documents. Since this class, I’ve continued to converse with Professor Sargent about all things Supreme Court while also religiously perusing sources like SCOTUSblog on my own time.

Sam Gordon, '19

Major: Government, Minor: Spanish and Economics

Sam GordonExposure to a wide variety of subjects has been important to me throughout my academic career and it was one of the main reasons why I chose to attend a liberal arts school like Dartmouth. However, the one area of study that has stood out as my favorite has always been the Supreme Court. I first began learning about the Court in a Constitutional Law class my junior year of high school in which we covered a different landmark case each week with teams of students representing the different sides and the remainder of the class serving as the justices. I personally argued in “Brown v Board¨ “Roe v Wade¨ and “Lawrence v Texas” and took part in debates for “University of California v Bakke¨ “Miranda v Arizona¨ and many others.  I found myself stimulated more than with any other academic experience and therefore went on to pursue the subject further by participating in the school’s prestigious Moot Court competition and serving as the clerk teacher’s assistance for Constitutional Law the following year. My enjoyment from learning about the Supreme Court contributed to my decision to major in Government at Dartmouth and I have taken Professor Bedi’s course in Theorizing Free Speech with a similar level of enthusiasm.

Carolyn Zhou, '19

Major: Economics and Philosophy

Carolyn ZhouI was introduced to constitutional law through my Writing 5, The Supreme Court. We actually read Obergefell v. Hodges as a class, and during our discussion Professor Kalish brought up the case regarding the wedding cake baker who refused to serve a gay couple. I hope to talk about the ethical implications surrounding freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the workshop. One of my favorite assignments at Dartmouth has been the final project in the class. We chose a case currently in the docket and taught the class about it in small teams. I chose to study the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, perhaps the biggest abortion rights case since Planned Parenthood v. Casey. When it comes to a topic like abortion, the general public has a lot of misconceptions. And my team hardly knew any more than everyone else. We had to research and understand how abortions work and how abortion clinics operate, since that would help shape our opinion on the legislation at issue. Learning how abortion clinics are currently regulated by the government opened my eyes on the topic and helped me make an informed opinion on the case. In this workshop, I would be able to have thoughtful conversations with other students after investigating different arguments on my own through the assigned readings. I know I will see a lot of conversation online as these cases go to court, but I hope I will be able to delve a bit deeper and study the ethical nuances of these cases with other students.

Tyler Bowen, '21

Anticipated Major: Economics & Minor in Public Policy

Tyler BowenI became interested in the Supreme Court while taking Professor Kalish’s Writing 005 Supreme Court class. In that class, I have been assigned the case Gill v. Whitford, one of the main cases in this workshop. I have done a great deal of research about the case, and as part of our assignments I had to argue for both Gill and Whitford. I already have a great understanding of the case background, oral arguments, and issues the Court will have to deal with. Particularly interesting to me about the workshop is getting to meet with Nicholas Stephanopoulos, whose co-creation of the efficiency gap has given Whitford a potential judicially manageable standard to satisfy Justice Kennedy’s requirement set forth in his Vieth v. Jubelirer opinion. After reading through his research and Gill’s argument against it, I am curious to hear how Mr. Stephanopoulos feels about the efficiency gap measure being used as an official standard of partisan gerrymandering in the Court. I am also interested to hear his response to Chief Justice Roberts’ remarks in oral arguments suggesting the invalidity of social science, especially how he feels about using calculus to decide legal matters. In addition to Gill, I would also like to know more about the other three cases and hear expert opinions on them. My SCOTUS class includes groups working on those other cases, so I will have already learned a great deal about them beforehand and will be able to bring thoughtful questions that arise when hearing presentations on these other cases. 

Albert Chen, '20

Major: Economics

It’s certainly an exciting time to be a Supreme Court observer, and I think this group will be a great place to dissect the latest happenings. While legal and policy experts often come to campus, it’s rare to have the same group of students interact repeatedly with those experts. I believe repeated seminar-style interactions with other students and visiting experts will lead to a uniquely thought-provoking discourse during this workshop. Seminar classes at Dartmouth are rewarding, but can suffer from the “beating a dead horse” syndrome, where the same analyses and critiques are reiterated over and over again. I think that the format of this workshop, where different cases are discussed every week, allows for novelty, while the focus of the workshop on the most significant cases of this term will give the workshop consistency. Also, the controversial nature of these cases naturally lends itself to vivid discussions about legal ideology, political philosophy, and pragmatic outcomes, and I’m certain that other participants in this workshop will bring a variety of viewpoints to this workshop. I look forward to getting to know a group of peers who share my interest in my Supreme Court and learning from them over intense and invigorating discussions.

Katherine Royce, '19

Major: Mathematics Minor: Public Policy 

After taking Government 66 and 67—Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties—last year, I have developed an interest in constitutional law. Studying the basic principles which provide the foundation for our constitutional system in Government 66 and seeing how these statements are translated into laws in Government 67 gave me the same sense of intellectual excitement I feel studying math. Constructing a useful system of reality from the most basic of agreements, whether mathematical axioms or moral principles, poses important questions about the foundations of our society. I enjoy the challenge posed by developing useful principles from fundamental concepts, whether that takes the form of proving theorems or crafting policies, and studying Supreme Court cases provides the bridge from the abstract principles that motivate our Constitution to the policies that govern our lives.

Austen Robinson, '19

Major: Government and History

As an American who has lived overseas until age eighteen, I empathize with many of the “foreign” criticisms of the Constitution. So, when I matriculated at Dartmouth I was looking forward to taking Professor Kalish’s course on the Supreme Court. I was shocked to see that I was not enrolled in Writing 5 until the Winter – and I was not sure the course would be offered then. After a meeting and an e-mail, I was finally enrolled in a course on the Supreme Court. Some of my peers were a little better acquainted with the Supreme Court, so I set about correcting this by reading about it voraciously. I particularly enjoyed class conversations, especially when they focused on the minutiae of certain cases. I really miss the course, especially our free-flowing legal debates. I’m really excited by the opportunity to have those kinds of debates again, albeit in a formal rather than academic setting – which means discussion can evolve gradually rather than in pursuit of the syllabus. The Ethics Institute’s Supreme Court Workshop is an ideal way to deepen my knowledge of the Supreme Court by discussing four cases pertaining to relevant and topical issues. Besides, this is a unique opportunity to have these conversations with knowledgeable legal scholars and an enthusiastic group of my peers (who are all as excited to be there as I am).

Leah Alpern, '18

Major: Philosophy and Classical Languages and Literature

Leah AlpernAs a senior double major in Philosophy and Classical Languages and Literature, the content of my studies at Dartmouth have been humanistic to the extreme and I hope to find an outlet to connect the broader themes about human nature, communication, and conflict over time that I learn in my major course plans to the structure and workings of our nation’s highest meter of justice. For example, I will read sections of Plato’s Republic in Greek and discuss myriad ancient theories of justice, but the connection to particular Supreme Court cases or issues of social injustice often lies latent unless one endeavors to connect these themes in a compelling way to problems in our own governmental structure and ideology. Despite apparent intellectual proximity, it sometimes seems that humanities and the social sciences consider themselves mutually exclusive. To me, the only difference is methodological, and it seems a shame to discuss only literary and theoretical aspects of a text in ancient Greek when there are so many fruitful sociological comparisons to be made between ancient Greek culture and government and modern culture and government in the US (especially given that we herald the Greeks as our cultural predecessors!). Making these connections requires more effort, and departing from established research methods—exegetical analysis in the humanities and analysis of empirical evidence in the social sciences—entails a bit more critical thinking to choose the best means for the end.

Peter Blum, '18

Major: Government Minor: French

Peter BlumI approach this workshop with a healthy background and interest in each of the cases we will investigate. The Trump Administration’s immigration ban has been the most jarring, as it has affected many people I know both personally and professionally, and has shown me the importance of the United States’ legal and judicial system in providing the necessary restraint and due process as articulated in the Constitution. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, I see a pivotal debate between religious liberty and civil rights, and am fascinated to understand not only how the arguments for both are framed, but how the precedent set by the Court’s decision will affect the schism moving forward. Carpenter v. United States intrigues me following my summer internship at the National Consumers League, where I advocated for privacy protections on behalf of the American consumer. That experience has led me to believe in the consumer’s right to privacy in most cases, though I look forward to continued discussion. And finally, Gill v. Whitford interests me for the simple reason that I heard the New York Times’ daily podcast (The Daily) on this very issue with former Wisconsin state senator Dale Schultz who turned on the interests of his own party to publically decry the act of political gerrymandering. In this case especially, I am curious to see how a highly politicized issue can be reasonably adjudicated before an ostensibly impartial court.

 

Last Updated: 7/23/18