By Ken Jubie ’04
Law Professor and former Wall Street Journal Supreme Court Correspondent Stephen Wermiel, Esq., delivered his Constitution Day address to a capacity crowd earlier this month. Wermiel’s speech was titled “Reforming the Supreme Court: The 75-Year Journey from Court Packing to Today’s Proposals.”
“Constitution Day reminds us of the uniqueness and magnificence of our form of government,” said Len Cutler, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Government and Politics. “It has not only survived but flourished through major crises we have confronted in our nation’s history.”
In honor of Siena College’s 75th anniversary, during this year’s Constitution Day celebration Wermiel analyzed the impact of a landmark event that unfolded in 1937, the same year Siena College was founded. He took the audience back to the revolutionary attempt by President Franklin Roosevelt to “pack” the Court as he tried to salvage his New Deal program from Court obstructionists. Wermiel also assessed the outcome of that confrontation on present day presidential and court interactions.
Wermiel is Professor of Constitutional Law and a Fellow in the Law and Government Program at the American University Washington College of Law. He is also the official biographer of William Brennan, the late Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Wermiel co-authored the highly-regarded biography, Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion. He was the Wall Street Journal’s Supreme Court correspondent from 1979 to 1991 and a reporter for the Boston Globe from 1972 to 1979.