Week Three’s Interfaith Lectures theme — “Emancipation: Where Do We Go From Here?” — goes hand in hand with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. There’s no better time to bring to Chautauqua Institution a Supreme Court expert who can shed light on the complex machinations of the Supreme Court and the motivations of its justices.
Enter Charles Fried, Harvard University’s Beneficial Professor of Law.
Along with serving as the United States solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan from 1985 to 1989, Fried has taught at Harvard Law School since 1961. He has written nine books, the most recent of which is titled Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror.
At his 4 p.m. lecture in the Hall of Philosophy this afternoon, Fried plans to talk about the decision-making methods employed by the Supreme Court justices, as well as the motivations behind their decisions. He’ll focus mostly on this recent term and the preceding one.
“There has been an awful lot of speculation about strategic and deliberate vote trading going on, with people going into one group or another as a result of all sorts of agreements and understandings and so on,” Fried said. “And I think that’s not how [the Supreme Court] works. I think how it works is there are nine human beings confronting very difficult issues and feeling the pressure of resolving those issues.”
Fried will be speaking at the Institution as this year’s Robert H. Jackson lecturer.
John Q. Barrett, professor of law at St. John’s University School of Law and board member of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, N.Y., explained the purpose of the annual Robert H. Jackson lecture.
“It’s become Chautauqua’s platform to bring a real top-flight Supreme Court expert at this moment to comment both on the current and the historical,” he said.
Barrett will be introducing Fried at today’s lecture.
Fried said he is excited about the opportunity to present a lecture at the Institution.
“Chautauqua has a wonderful history,” Fried said. “It’s an enormous honor to be counted among the people who have lectured at the Institution.”