James F. Simon, a noted author and commentator on the United States Supreme Court, will give the first lecture in the Amicus Curiae lecture series. Simon will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Marshall University Foundation Hall, home of the Erickson Alumni Center.
“We are thrilled to have James Simon as a speaker in the lecture series,” said Patricia Proctor, director of the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy. “He is a wonderful writer with great insight into the history and the politics of the Supreme Court, and he is going to talk about a fascinating time in our political and judicial history.”
Simon will speak on the subject of his most recent book, FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, The Supreme Court and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal, the third in a trilogy on clashes between American presidents and chief justices at critical times in American history. He also will compare Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes to Chief Justice John Roberts (and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama) focusing particularly on the court’s Affordable Health Care Act decision.
Simon, who is dean emeritus and Martin Professor of Law emeritus of New York Law School, has written eight books on American history, law and politics. FDR and Chief Justice Hughes (Simon & Schuster, 2012) has been widely praised, with Jeffrey Toobin – the country’s preeminent commentator on the Supreme Court – calling it “an elegant dual biography of the incomparable FDR and a formidable Chief Justice” and Bob Woodward describing it as “a spectacular book, brilliantly conceived and executed.” Jean Edward Smith, former member of the Marshall University political science faculty and himself the author of the highly acclaimed and award-winning FDR, calls Simon’s book a “marvelously written, meticulously researched study” of the relationship between FDR and Chief Justice Hughes.
Simon was a commentator in the PBS series The Supreme Court and has been a legal affairs correspondent and contributing editor for Time magazine. He has lectured frequently in the United States and abroad. His other books include Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President’s War Powers; What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States (which was named a New York Times Notable Book); Independent Journey: The Life of William O. Douglas; The Antagonists: Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black and Civil Liberties in Modern America, and The Center Holds: The Power Struggle Inside the Rehnquist Court.
The next lecture in the series will feature Louis Michael Seidman, professor of constitutional law at the Georgetown University Law Center and author of the book On Constitutional Disobedience. That event will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, also at Foundation Hall.