Is There a Supreme Court Legitimacy Crisis?

October 18, 2018


In the aftermath of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, debates about the Supreme Court’s legitimacy remain in the public spotlight. Some believe that the Kavanaugh confirmation caused a legitimacy crisis that can only be solved by reform proposals such as court packing and term limits for justices, while others believe the Court has maintained its legitimacy and is still a neutral arbiter of the law. Is the Supreme Court really having a legitimacy crisis? Host Jeffrey Rosen discusses that question and the future of the Court with two constitutional scholars from opposing sides of the Kavanaugh debate – Professor Jennifer Mascott, who testified on Justice Kavanaugh’s behalf at his confirmation hearings, and Professor Melissa Murray, who testified against his nomination. 


Note: An early transcript of the podcast is linked here. This text may not be in its final form, accuracy may vary, and it may be updated or revised in the future.


Jennifer Mascott is an assistant professor at George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School. Professor Mascott clerked for then-Judge Kavanaugh on the DC Circuit and testified on his behalf at his confirmation hearing. She teaches and writes in the areas of administrative and constitutional law, and previously clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas..

Melissa Murray is a professor at NYU Law who specializes in constitutional and family law and reproductive rights. She testified against Justice Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearings. She previously clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, then of the Second Circuit and later taught and served as interim dean at UC Berkeley School of Law. 

​​​​​​Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

Additional Resources

Our Interactive Constitution is the leading digital resource about the debates and text behind the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. Here, scholars from across the legal and philosophical spectrum interact with each other to explore the meaning of each provision of our founding document. 

This episode was engineered by Dave Stotz and produced by Jackie McDermott and Scott Bomboy. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich and Jackie McDermott.

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