Supreme Court Justices: Prophets or Priests?

Friday, November 03, 2006

 Published on 11/3/06

A noted legal scholar will examine Supreme Court judicial activism via a historical “priest” or “prophet” perspective during his Nov. 15 lecture at The University of Tulsa.

David R. Dow, University Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, will present “America’s Prophets: The Obligation of Supreme Court Justices to Say ‘No’” at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Sharp Memorial Chapel on the TU campus. The lecture is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow in the Sharp Memorial Chapel Atrium. The lecture is the second in TU’s Jewish Law Lecture Series being held this academic year.

During his remarks, Dow will propose that Supreme Court justices should utilize interpretive methods made popular by prophets in the Old Testament Hebrew Bible rather than ritual-based approaches adhered to by the priests. He will apply this “prophetic” method to major decisions of the modern era, including Griswold v. Connecticut (privacy rights), Roe v. Wade (reproductive rights), and Brown v. Board of Education (equal access to education).

The lecture will draw upon the research Dow currently is undertaking for his forthcoming book, tentatively carrying the same title as his lecture, which is expected to be complete in 2007.

Dow received a bachelor’s degree from Rice University and both a master’s degree and a law degree from Yale University. He has handled more than 50 appeals, including more than 25 death penalty cases. His areas of expertise include contracts, constitutional law and death penalty law, and he is the author of several publications on these subjects as well as other areas of law.

The Jewish Law Lecture Series is in conjunction with a collection of rare and important Jewish legal and scholarly texts that are on display through the 2006-07 academic year at the law school’s Mabee Legal Information Center.

Remaining speakers in the lecture series include Mark E. Washofsky presenting “Jewish Law, Bioethics and Stem Cell Research” on Jan. 18, Samuel J. Levine presenting “Taking Ethical Obligations Seriously: A Look at American Codes of Professional Responsibility Through a Perspective of Jewish Law and Ethics” on Feb. 14, and Elliot N. Dorff presenting “Modern Understandings of Jewish Law” on March 5.

For more information about the Dow lecture or the Jewish Law Lecture Series, call (918) 631-2560, e-mail anita.corning@utulsa.edu or visit www.law.utulsa.edu/jewishlaw/.