Michael Gerhardt called it months ago. The Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law said the Republicans would choose Donald Trump as their nominee and this week Hillary Clinton is expected to accept the Democratic nomination.
Gerhardt is a 2010 IAH Faculty Fellow and 2013 Academic Leadership Fellow. He has published many op-eds and books on federal law’s impact.
Most recently, the death in February of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia began a struggle in both the GOP and the Democratic parties over the nomination process. Scalia was Gerhardt’s constitutional law professor. Gerhardt has followed events closely.
“The Republican leaders feel that Justice Scalia was their most impassioned voice with a conservative viewpoint on the constitution. [His death and the judicial appointment process] creates the possibility for a Democratic president to make an appointment which will bring a bout for the first time in 40 years a majority democratic justices on the Supreme Court. Every side sees this as a critical point. That’s why it will be a titanic conflict.”
This is exactly why Gerhardt’s most memorable moments in teaching are linking world events in the classroom. “In law there are always some current issues, we just don’t know what those are going to be.”
Gerhardt is motivated by the idea that “law can make a difference. I grew up in Alabama during the 1960s when the only thing that could make a positive difference was law. For me, my role models were lawyers and judges who were fighting for civil rights.”
On The issue of House Bill 2 which has been controversial, Gerhardt discussed the legal strategy of the federal and North Carolina governments. “If McCrory loses the election maybe the lawsuit goes away,” he said. However, “I think another reason people file lawsuits is in case they lose.”
For more on the conversation, listen to the podcast below.