We Should Expand the Supreme Court

We Should Expand the Supreme Court

Hari Osofsky, Dean and Myra and James Bradwell Professor of Law, cordially invites you to the Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series, presented virtually and in partnership with Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates.

Register Now

Thursday, September 30th

5:00 p.m. CT | 3:00 p.m. PT | 6:00 p.m. ET

This program is pending 1 general CLE credit in the state of Illinois. Video connection information will be distributed via email before the debate.

Right now, nine justices hold tremendous power in American law. It's been that way since Ulysses S. Grant first inhabited the White House. The Constitution is silent on just how many justices should sit on the nation's top bench, and in 1937 President Roosevelt tried to add a slew of new appointments that would be sympathetic to his New Deal programs. Congress didn't bite. Now, advocates on the left are eyeing the bench once again. They see a Supreme Court out of touch with the American electorate, obstructed by partisan interests, and rendered illegitimate by years of controversial appointments. But those opposed are sounding the alarms. A move to dramatically change one of the three core pillars of American government would ultimately undermine the court’s legitimacy. It’s not perfect, they argue. But the court has consistently shown its independence and should not be compromised as a result of partisan ambitions. So, in light of this emerging divide, Intelligence Squared U.S. in partnership with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law asks this question: Should we expand the Supreme Court?


The Debaters

For the motion

  • Tamara Brummer
    Tamara Brummer
    Political Organizer and Strategist
  • Dahlia Lithwick
    Dahlia Lithwick
    Legal commentator and Host, Slate's Amicus Podcast

Against the motion

  • Carter Phillips
    Carter Phillips (MA '75, JD '77)
    Supreme Court & Appellate
    Litigator
  • Akhil Reed Amar
    Akhil Reed Amar
    Constitutional Scholar,
    Yale University

Host and Moderator

  • John Donvan
    John Donvan
    Author & Correspondent, ABC News

About the Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series 

The Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is made possible by friends and colleagues of Newton N. Minow, a 1950 graduate of Northwestern Law. Together they honored Mr. Minow’s numerous contributions to public and civic life by generously establishing an endowment to support a series of debates that engage outside experts, law school faculty, and students on important and timely legal topics.

About Intelligence Squared U.S.

A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 170 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to "think twice" on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.

About The Debaters

Tamara Brummer serves as Senior Advisor and Director of National Outreach and Engagement for Demand Justice, one of the leading organizations advocating for court expansion and reform. Prior to this post, Tamara has spent years as a political organizer and strategist building meaningful and impactful relationships rooted in a shared vision of economic justice. This includes tenures across the labor movement, notably with the AFL-CIO and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

Dahlia Lithwick is one of the nation’s most prominent progressive legal commentators and Supreme Court analysts. She is a senior editor at Slate, where she has written her “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence” columns since 1999 and is the host of the award-winning law podcast “Amicus.” She holds a J.D. from Stanford University and is currently teaching a short course on the Supreme Court and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the University of Virginia law school.

Carter Phillips (MA '75, JD '77) is one of the most experienced and celebrated Supreme Court and appellate lawyers in the country. He has argued more than 85 cases before the Supreme Court both in private practice and on behalf of the United States Government. He served as Assistant to the Solicit General and clerked for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. He is a partner at the law firm Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C. Carter is an alum of the Northwestern School of Law, where he is a professor in the Supreme Court clinic.

Akhil Reed Amar is a constitutional scholar, law professor, and author. He has been cited by the Supreme Court justices in more than 40 cases, making him one of the most cited scholars of his generation. After graduating from Yale Law School, he clerked for then-Judge (now Justice) Stephen Breyer and then joined the Yale faculty at only age 26. Akhil recently launched the weekly podcast America’s Constitution and is currently a professor at Yale Law.


This event is part of The Newton and Jo Minow Debate Series
.