What We May Learn From A Productive Scholar and Award-Winning Teacher, And Co-Director of Stanford's
Court Litigation Clinic
Pam Karlan Interview Part 1 (audio)
Pam Karlan Interview Part 2 (audio)
Link To An Article on Pam Karlan's Appearance at Palo Alto High School on October 9, 2012
Since the days of the Nixon administration,
Pam Karlan, then a law clerk with Justice Harry Blackmun, began making her mark studying legal issues around civil
rights. She is now one of the nation's experts on the Supreme Court and its inner workings, with an emphasis
on voting rights and fairness in the political process. Professor Karlan has repeatedly come across the street to Palo
Alto High to engage 11th grade high school students on major points that relate the things they are reading
about in their history books to what they may be reading in the headlines.
Importantly, Professor Karlan is an expert on the the issue of voter fraud.
Her explanation of the two prevailing worldviews of this issue is illuminating, to say the least.
When news networks scramble to understand legal rulings, Karlan's phone continuously rings.
Our interview took place at Paly on October 9, 2012. An audio recording is available at the top of this page. Karlan
came to Paly the same day she filed a brief on behalf of a client, Edith Windsor, before the Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit in New York. The case involved Windsor's search for the same kind of constitutional protections as many other victims
of discrimination, challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. Within a week, the justices in an historic 2-1 ruling, agreed
with Karlan's argument and ruled in favor of Karlan's client, Edith Windsor, and other gay couples who are denied the ability
to consider each other spouses for the purposes of the Federal Government recognizing their marriage as a tax status. This
case became a watershed moment in gay rights history and civil rights history. Ultimately, Ms. Windsor prevailed and
the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In some ways, Karlan is a modern day Thurgood
Why The Supreme Court Plays A Critical Role
in American Culture
- What does the Constitution say about marriage?
- What might have been Chief Justice
Roberts' reasons for ruling as he did in the Affordable Care Act?
- What kinds of changes to the college
admission process are the Court considering?
- What are the mechanics of a Supreme Court ruling?
might happen to the credibility of the Court if the 2016 election is not settled by the voters but by the courts?