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Episode 6: Courting Civil Rights

November 2021

Established by Article Three of the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court began to take shape with the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which specified that the court would be made up of six justices who would serve on the court until they died or retired. Congress altered the number of Supreme Court seats multiple times before settling on its current standard, nine justices, in 1869. As the Court changed in size and scope, its decisions played a key role in defining America’s ever-evolving views surrounding the civil rights of its people. In this episode, we’ll be discussing the United States Supreme Court and the pursuit of civil rights. What is the Supreme Court’s purpose? How has it evolved over time? And is the Court an effective tool for moving civil rights forward?

To get a better handle on these huge subjects, Matthew speaks with Christopher Schmidt, ABF Research Professor, Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Co-Director of the Law Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States; and Paul Smith, ABF Life Fellow, Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law, and Vice President for Litigation and Strategy at the Campaign Legal Center.

Note: The American Bar Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit research institute. Any of the viewpoints expressed during the podcasts are those of the guests, not the ABF.

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Christopher W. Schmidt