Vanderbilt professors available to talk about upcoming Supreme Court decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court will make decisions on a number of hotly debated cases this term, and a diverse group of Vanderbilt University experts is available to give their opinions about those cases.


James Blumstein – University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy; director, Health Policy Center, Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies – Blumstein is an expert on constitutional law and the Supreme Court. He has extensive experience with national media outlets. Blumstein is ready to talk about the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s proposed expansion of Medicaid. He believes the expansion should be denied on constitutional grounds.

Suzanna Sherry – Herman O. Loewenstein Professor of Law – Sherry is one of the top scholars of constitutional law and the Supreme Court. She often is asked to provide federal district and court of appeals judges with a review of recently completed Supreme Court terms. With more than 20 years of experience teaching law, she has written numerous books and dozens of articles on constitutional law and the Supreme Court. Sherry has done extensive television, radio and print interviews.


Fourth Amendment Issues:

  • U.S. v. Jones- Fourth Amendment debate on whether a GPS tracking device on a vehicle constitutes a search or seizure and violates an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, N.J. – Fourth Amendment case that addresses jail strip searches for those arrested for minor offenses.

Christopher Slobogin- Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Criminal Justice Program – Slobogin is an expert in criminal procedure, mental health law and evidence law. He recently wrote a research article on new technologies and the Fourth Amendment that specifically references surveillance like GPS in Is the Fourth Amendment Relevant in a Technological Age? Slobogin has served as reporter for the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Law Enforcement and Technology. He has authored more than 100 articles, books and chapters on topics relating to criminal procedure, mental health law and evidence. Slobogin is one of the 10 most cited criminal law and procedure law professors in the nation, according to the Leiter Report.

First Amendment Issues:

  • Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations – First Amendment case dealing with profanity and nudity in broadcasts.
  • Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Opportunity Commission – First Amendment case dealing with religious freedom. Lower courts recognize a “ministerial exception” to the First Amendment, which protects religious associations from being sued when hiring religious leaders based on their beliefs.

David Hudson Jr. – First Amendment scholar, First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt, adjunct professor of law – Hudson is the author, co-author or co-editor of more than 30 books, including The Encyclopedia of the First Amendment, The Rehnquist Court: Understanding Its Impact and Legacy and the Handy Supreme Court Answer Book (Visible Ink Press, 2008).

Copyright Issues:

  • Golan v. Holder – deals with whether Congress can copyright works that were once in the public domain.

Daniel Gervais – Co-director, Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program, FedEx Research Professor in Law – Gervais focuses on international intellectual property law, having spent 10 years researching and addressing policy issues on behalf of the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers and Copyright Clearance Center.

Patent Issues:

  • Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories – questions whether someone can patent a naturally occurring process or phenomenon. It is a separation of powers case.

Sean Seymore – associate professor of law, associate professor of chemistry – Seymore’s research focuses on how patent law should evolve in response to scientific advances and how the intersection of law and science should influence the formulation of public policy.

Jurisdiction Issues:

  • Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency – deals with a district court’s jurisdiction over EPA compliance orders concerning a couple who could not add onto their house because their backyard was a wetland.

J.B. Ruhl – David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law – Ruhl is an expert in environmental law, land use and property law. He has written influential articles on environmental law relating to climate change, the Endangered Species Act, ecosystems, federal public lands, and other land use and environmental issues. His works have been selected among the best law review articles in the field of environmental law six times from 1989 to 2011. He has recently completed work on an empirical assessment of climate change in U.S. courts.

Amy Wolf, (615) 322-NEWS

Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS