The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences


Notes From the Field: Catherine Rocchi '19

Catherine Rocchi '19 interned at the Crag Law Center, a public interest environmental law firm based in Portland, Oregon, during the 2018 Summer Term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

Crag lawyers provide clients—usually other nonprofits—with free or low-cost legal services in line with the organization’s mission to protect and sustain the Pacific Northwest’s natural legacy. In addition, Crag may supplement these legal services with assistance on campaign strategies, communications, community organizing and media relations.

The Roger S. Aaron '64 Lecture by Rebecca E. Zietlow

Professor of Law and Values at the University of Toledo College of Law, Rebecca Zietlow, spoke at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center during the fall term, delivering the Roger S. Aaron ’64 Lecture. She invoked values and constitutional inspiration, discussing the antislavery movement, reconstruction and individual rights.

Looking back on her career, she said her interest began after she started looking into cases on Congress’s power to enforce the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, issues of freedom, sovereign immunity, equality and citizenship rights.

“I’m really writing about Congress and about politics,” Zietlow said. “The court – especially these days – seems more and more political. It always has been somewhat political, but the politics of the court are behind closed doors, in the confirmation process, in conference. It is coded in the ways they use doctrine. But when it happens on the streets, everyone is very open about it and people are debating some of the most fundamental values of our society.”

Notes From the Field: Angela Potier '21

Angela Potier '21 interned at the New Hampshire Supreme Court during the 2018 Summer Term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

This summer, I interned at the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The court is composed of the Chief Justice and four associate justices. The Supreme Court is responsible for correcting errors in trial court proceedings, interpreting case law and statutes and the state and federal constitutions, and administering the courts.

During my internship, I completed three bench memos (two expository and one persuasive memo that included my own legal analysis), a twelve-page research memo concerning criminal responsibility and constitutional interpretation for a question of first impression in New Hampshire, a sample client letter, and a budgeting memo. In order to complete my assignments, I had to learn how to conduct legal research using Westlaw and state and federal statutes. Legal writing is very different from academic writing with regard to style, but the legal reasoning process will be useful to employ in academic work.

R. Shep Melnick on Why Title IX Has Become So Controversial

R. Shep Melnick, the Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Professor of American Politics at Boston College, delivered a public lecture titled “Why Has Title IX Become So Controversial?” at the Rockefeller Center this past spring. During his talk, he focused on the purpose of federal regulation in removing institutional barriers to educational opportunity as well as the shifting focus on equality and gender roles, closely addressing issues of gender, sexuality, stereotyping and federal policy.

R. Shep Melnick began studying Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, for a single chapter in his book on the growing “Civil Rights State” in the United States about nondiscrimination rules encompassing race, sex, disability, age and national origin. The regulatory apparatus operates differently than other programs to establish and enforce nondiscrimination laws, especially concerning the ways in which rules are made and the courts are involved. What he found, however, opened the gateway for a deeper study on the intersection of law, sex, gender politics, and public policy.

Todd Henderson on the Importance of Societal Trust in Human Progress

As part of the Thurlow M. Gordon Lecture 1906 Lecture series, the Rockefeller Center hosted Todd Henderson, the Michael J. Marks Professor of Law and Mark Claster Mamolen Research Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School, who gave a presentation in Rockefeller 003 on the importance of societal trust in human progress and the role of trust-creating institutions.

Henderson introduced his presentation with the assertion that the norm of “stranger danger” ends up being highly limiting since individuals ends up forgoing many potential opportunities. Therefore, Henderson asserted that the cultivation of societal trust is the key to prosperous economies since it allows individuals to be more willing to engage in cooperative endeavors. He then transitioned into an overview of the institutions which have historically been guarantors of societal trust, as well as their pitfalls.

An Interview with Law Professor Michele DeStefano ’91

Michele DeStefano ’91 is a Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law and founder of LawWithoutWalls, a multi-disciplinary, international think-tank of more than 1,000 lawyers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and law and business students who create innovations at the intersection of law, business, and technology. She is also co-curator of the Compliance Elliance Journal, an e-journal of articles in compliance and ethics.

DeStefano took part in the 2018 Dartmouth College Law Day celebrations, as a member of a panel, a student lunch, as well as delivering a lecture about “LawWithoutWalls: Enhancing Access to Justice and Lawyers’ Skills with Innovation.” During her visit to campus, Professor DeStefano sat down with Lauren Bishop ’19 for an interview about her career journey and lessons learned along the way.

Lauren Bishop (LB): You took a nontraditional path to law school by working for about a decade in marketing before going to law school. Looking back, would you change anything?

The Supreme Court and National Security Law: Neal Katyal ’91

During a visit to campus this summer, former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal ’91, gave a public lecture on “The Supreme Court and National Security Law” at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center. While on campus, Katyal also participated in a student dinner, where he touched on his time at Dartmouth, on his self-described “circuitous” career path, and on his values.

Currently the law professor at Georgetown University and a partner with Hogan Lovells, LLP, Katyal thinks that his time at Dartmouth influenced his career in two ways. First, after enjoying his four years at the College, he was ready to “hit the books hard” in law school, and second, he learned to value collaboration in academic and professional settings.

“The Dartmouth education is far more collegial and about learning from each other. I’ve always tried to bring that spirit into all the teams I build, whether that’s in the government or at Georgetown or in the private sector,” he said.

Report from the Courts: State Attorneys General and President Trump

As the chief legal officers for their states, state attorneys general (AGs) often file lawsuits challenging the actions of Congress and the President and occupy the crucial and contested boundary between the federal and state governments. The Trump Administration presents new and rich examples for the study of the role of state AGs in litigation with the federal Executive, in cases concerning immigration, the environment, health care, and other subjects.

The Roger S. Aaron '64 Lecture this year was held as a panel discussion. Titled “State Attorneys General and President Trump: Report from the Courts," Elbert Lin, former WV Solicitor General; Jon Miller ’00, MA Attorney Gen. Office; and Ernie Young ’90, Duke Law School participated at panelist. The moderator was Tom Barnico ’77, Boston College Law School. The event was co-sponsored with the Dartmouth Lawyers Association and the Dartmouth Legal Studies Faculty Group

Interview with Professor Anna Kirkland, University of Michigan

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017, the Rockefeller Center hosted a public talk by Dr. Kirkland, titled “Vaccine Courts: The Law and Politics of Injury.” Prior to this talk, Nikita Bakhru ’17 sat down with Anna Kirkland for an interview.

2017 Law Day Celebration at the Rockefeller Center

In 2012, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta once warned that the United States is susceptible to a “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” citing the destructive potential of cyber-aggression. Years later, the premise of Secretary Panetta’s statement holds stable, as issues of cyber-security continue to make headlines. As the digital age has progressed, cyberspace has consistently proven to be a dynamic, open, and efficient platform for economic growth and the exchange of ideas. However, the very openness that makes this space so innovative has created critical vulnerabilities. Without setting off a single explosive, state and non-state actors can render infrastructure quiescent, steal/delete information, or even commandeer resources towards malevolent objectives in complete secrecy. Contemporary government policy is reluctant to take substantial steps forward in the realm of cybersecurity so as not to impede on privacy or the economic benefits of an open, fluid internet. Nonetheless, if the U.S.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences