How to Wreck the Supreme Court
The Annual Walter F. Murphy Lecture in American Constitutionalism
Michael Paulsen, Distinguished University Chair & Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas
Michael Stokes Paulsen is Distinguished University Chair & Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, where he has taught since 2007. Professor Paulsen was previously the McKnight Presidential Professor of Law & Public Policy and Associate Dean at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he taught from 1991-2007. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Yale Law School, and Yale Divinity School.
Professor Paulsen is the author of more than ninety scholarly articles and book chapters on a wide variety of constitutional law topics. He is co-author, with Luke Paulsen, of The Constitution: An Introduction (Basic Books, 2015) and co-author of the casebook The Constitution of the United States (5th ed. 2022).
Condemning the Supreme Court – attacking the justices for their decisions – is a popular and bipartisan sport. Conservatives have long bemoaned the Court for behaving as a lawless, renegade institution. Liberals have recently joined the choir of condemnation, chagrined by the Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. What powers do the political branches of government legitimately, constitutionally possess to “check” the Court and bring it to heel? Professor Paulsen argues that the Constitution embraces sweeping political power over the Supreme Court – control over appointments, jurisdiction, the Court’s size, and even impeachment and non-execution of judgments. The power to check is the power to destroy. Could Congress and the President reduce the Supreme Court to nothing?
(Please note there is construction going on around Guyot Hall, so please follow the detour paths to the entrance)