By the Bay
Interpreting the 14th Amendment
Top constitutional scholar Steven Calabresi
teaches at RWU Law
Professor Steven G. Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist
Society and “a giant in legal education,” spent the Fall 2012
semester as RWU Law’s first Chief Justice Joseph Weisberger
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law.
A nationally renowned expert in Constitutional Law, Calabresi
taught a perspectives course titled “Interpreting the Fourteenth
Amendment,” which included in-depth analysis of the landmark
civil rights decision of
Loving v. Virginia
, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), in
which the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated laws prohibiting
Calabresi is Class of 1940 Professor of Law at Northwestern
Law School and a founder of the influential Federalist Society (he
still chairs its board of directors). He clerked for Justice Antonin
Scalia, served in the Reagan and first Bush Administrations from
1985 to 1990, and is the author of more than 30 books and articles
in the nation’s top law reviews.
“Calabresi is one of the most prominent conservative legal scholars
in the nation,” said Professor Carl Bogus. “Having him join our
faculty was a significant event in the history of our school.”
Imagine arguing a real case before the state supreme court – and
before you even complete your law degree. That’s what happened to
Juliana McKittrick ’13 after she took on a seemingly routine case as a
participant in RWU Law’s Criminal Defense Clinic.
McKittrick’s client had pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor in
return for the prosecutor’s promise of an expungement that was later
ruled ineligible by the court. The client turned to the clinic for help
with an appeal. McKittrick arrived on the scene after the Superior
Court returned an unfavorable ruling; it would be her job to appeal
the case to the high court.
Visiting Associate Professor Priya Lakhi, interim director of the
clinic, coached McKittrick to develop her arguing and presentation
skills. Other professors and local attorneys acted as judges in mock
argument practices, while her student partner, Katherine Caola ’13,
took notes and helped further shape the argument.
Though the October appeal was unsuccessful (the court ruled
that relief could not be applied retroactively), McKittrick says she is
grateful for the experience.
“It showed me how much responsibility comes with being
entrusted with the sensitive details of another person’s life,” she says.
“It also gave me an opportunity to focus on something that wasn’t a
strength for me and to grow in a new way.”
Straight to the Top
A 3L argues before the Rhode Island Supreme Court
Professor Calabresi with some of his RWU Law students.