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

Stephen R. Volk ’57 Lectures

Discussing the Past, Present, and Future of the Supreme Court

Nina Totenberg
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On April 29, 2021, the Rockefeller Center welcomed NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg hosted at an event titled “The Supreme Court and Its Impact on You.” In a discussion moderated by Professor Charles Wheelan ’88, Totenberg provided insight on the future of the Supreme Court and answered audience questions regarding current pending cases as well as her decades of experience in covering the Court.

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.

Celebrating Law Day at Dartmouth with Stephen Bright

While the Civil Rights Movement led to much legislative advancement toward racial equality, the criminal courts in the U.S. judicial system remained largely unaffected. Although many consider legislation to represent one of the main drivers of racial oppression, criminal courts are often overlooked as a source of inequality. As court outcomes are shaped by many discretionary factors like the competence of a defendant’s lawyer, it may be the case that courts have played a role in the oppression of people of color.

As the President and Senior Counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, Stephen B. Bright made the argument that criminal courts are a source of racial oppression in his lecture titled “Rigged: When Race and Poverty Determine Outcomes in Death Penalty and Other Criminal Cases.” He discussed how the criminal courts have represented a primary driver of racial injustice throughout U.S. history, through institutions such as slavery, Jim Crow laws, and mass incarceration of minorities. He spoke about how race and poverty are often dominant factors in the outcomes of criminal cases, and how discretionary discretions in cases are often influenced by race.

Can President Obama End the War on Terror? - David Cole, May 1st @ 4:30 pm

As the War on Terror continues to rage on after the passing of its first decade, many wonder if and when it will end. In May 2013, President Obama maintained that our democracy demands an end to this perpetual war. If President Obama does end the War on Terror, what would it mean for our security, our liberty and our future?

David Cole, the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law, will be speaking about this nationally pressing issue at the Rockefeller Center for Law Day. He will also address his opinions on controversial topics such as the closing of Guantanamo, the future of drones, as well as mass surveillance and the NSA.

A professor of constitutional law, national security and criminal justice at the Georgetown University Law Center, David Cole has been published widely in law journals and the popular press, authoring or co-authoring several award-winning books. In addition, he is the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.

Sarah Weddington: "Some Leaders are Born Women!", at Rocky 003 at 4:30 pm on May 2, 2013


In America today, women fill many of the highest posts in both government and business. The successes of these women, from Hillary Clinton to Condoleezza Rice, are shattering the out-of-date stereotyped gender roles that held back female progress in the past. Yet even in today’s progressive society, women still face gender biases and discrimination in their pursuit of success and leadership roles.




"The Separation of Powers and the Executive's Defense of Congressional Enactments" with U.S. Solicitor General Donal Verrilli this Thursday May 3rd at 4:30 PM





The 2009 Affordable Healthcare Act or "Obamacare", one of the most groundbreaking pieces of legislation in American history, will have its ultimate fate decided by the Supreme Court; charged with defending the bill’s constitutional viability is U. S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli will draw upon his personal experiences in office to discuss the delicate balance existing between the divided branches of government. He will speak to the role of the Executive Branch, specifically the Solicitor General, in defending Congressional enactments when their constitutionality is called into question by the third branch, the Supreme Court.

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. is currently serving as the 46th Solicitor General of the United States. Verrilli previously served as Deputy Counsel to President Obama and as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to his government service, he was a partner for many years in Jenner & Block, and co-chaired the firm’s Supreme Court practice, where he handled numerous cases in the Supreme Court and courts of appeals.


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