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News Posted on November 2, 2009

WSJ's Jess Bravin Speaks on Supreme Court at King Hall

Jess Bravin, who covers the U.S. Supreme Court and issues related to counterterrorism for the Wall Street Journal, answered questions on the Court and his career in journalism for an audience of King Hall faculty, students, and staff in the Moot Courtroom on October 29. 

Following a brief introduction from Professor Diane Marie Amann, director of the California International Law Center at King Hall (CILC), which sponsored the event, Bravin answered questions from a faculty panel including Associate Dean Vikram Amar and Professors Elizabeth Joh and Carlton Larson on the impacts of the arrival of Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the chemistry of the Court, the possibility of Supreme Court arguments being televised, the new Court's attitude toward business issues, and other issues.

Bravin, a graduate of Berkeley Law and the author of Squeaky: The Life and Times of Lynette Alice Fromme as well as a forthcoming book on Guantánamo, had particularly interesting insights regarding issues currently pending before the Court.  Bravin said that it appeared likely the Court would be willing to reconsider earlier decisions that supported the right of the government to regulate political campaign spending and which were used as precedent in supporting the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002.

"It seems pretty clear which way the Justices are leaning, with four Justices having taken the view that money is equivalent to speech, and there should be few circumstances where speech is restricted," he said.

In response to a student question regarding possible changes in the exclusionary rule, Bravin said that some of the Justices "have discomfort with a rule that, in its direct application, helps only guilty people," and that the Court would likely favor narrow applications of the rule but not abolish it.

King Hall faculty attending the event included Dean Kevin R. Johnson and Professors Rex Perschbacher, Peter Lee, Joel Dobris, and Margaret Johns. The discussion was videotaped by Law School technicians and is now available online.

California International Law Center at King Hall (CILC)

Jess Bravin at King Hall (video)