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November, 2004

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law, (512) 917-9159.

Professor Louise Weinberg Delivers Address to Distinguished Conference on Presidential Elections

AUSTIN, Texas — Louise Weinberg, who holds the William Bates Chair for the Administration of Justice at The University of Texas at Austin, delivered the address "The Supreme Court and the Election of 1860" at the October 27, 2004 conference, "Impact of Presidential Elections on the Supreme Court," held under the joint auspices of the University of California at Irvine and Whittier Law School. The evening program of the conference, held at UCI, featured Professor Weinberg and the eminent American historian Eric Foner. Earlier parts of the program included Mark Tushnet, Samuel Issacharoff, and Richard Pildes.

Professor Weinberg pointed out that of course the Supreme Court is at stake in every presidential election, even those we think of as about something else, like the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. She began by showing how slavery had made it difficult for the South to develop. But the South blamed its persistent poverty and backwardness on protectionist policies beneficial to the North and draining to the South. Poor Southerners would not fight a war over tax policies, but some saw their honor as tied to their white "supremacy" and non-slave status. She showed how Southern extremists agitated the people by arguing that the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision, so protective of slavery, was at risk from a Supreme Court that could be reconstituted by Abraham Lincoln. But, ironically, she showed that the reconstituted Court need not have been feared by Southerners.

About Louise Weinberg:
Professor Weinberg's recent writings include When Courts Decide Elections: The Constitutionality of Bush v. Gore, 82 B.U. L. Rev. 609 (2002); Our Marbury, 89 Va. L. Rev. 1235 (2003); Of Sovereignty and Union: The Legends of Alden, 76 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1113-1182 (2001); The Article III Box, 79 Tex. L. Rev. 1405 (2000); and Holmes' Failure, 96 Mich. L. Rev. 691-723 (1997).

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