Criminal Law and Justice

Understanding the Supreme Court’s Seismic Season

July 16, 2020  • Aspen Ideas Now

DACA. Abortion. LGBTQ protections. Presidential immunity. Native American rights. Among the 57 decisions issued this spring by the Supreme Court, many comprise the most significant in recent memory. Theodore Olson, former solicitor general, and Jeffrey Rosen, head of the National Constitution Center, say the role Chief Justice John Roberts played is critically important in ensuring the Court maintained its institutional legitimacy, guided by law, not politics. They speak with Rebecca Rosen, senior editor at The Atlantic about the Court’s latest decisions.

Big Idea: Neal Katyal

In May, the Court began audio broadcasting oral arguments for the first time in its 230-year history. Neal Katyal has a Big Idea to make the arguments even more accessible. Katyal, who’s argued four dozen cases before the Court, says it’s an opportunity to learn from the Justices who argue respectfully. In a time of great division, “the Supreme Court points to a different way,” he says. Katyal delivered his Idea during Aspen Ideas 2020.

Big Idea: Emma Robbins

Emma Robbins, director of the Navajo Water Project, says broken treaties between Native American nations and the US government must be honored, repaired, and modernized. In the 18th and 19th centuries, hundreds of treaties, guaranteeing peace, defining land boundaries, and more, were signed by the government. Watch her Big Idea, which relates to the Court’s landmark decision that affirms Native American rights in Oklahoma. Robbins delivered her Idea at Aspen Ideas 2020.