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Stephen Wermiel is a Fellow in Law and Government and associate director of the Summer Institute on Law and Government at American University Washington College of Law. He remains involved with and served previously as associate director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a 10-year-old program in which Washington College of Law students teach constitutional law in the public high schools of Washington, D.C. Wermiel holds expertise in the U.S. Supreme Court, having covered the court for the Wall Street Journal from 1979 until 1991. During his 12-year tenure at the Journal, he covered and interpreted more than 1,300 Supreme Court decisions and analyzed trends on a broad array of legal issues. Wermiel teaches Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Media Law and a seminar on the workings of the Supreme Court. He is an expert on the life and career of Justice William J. Brennan and has authored a book on the topic called, Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion, among many other books.

Early in his career, Wermiel was a Washington correspondent for the Boston Globe. He has also served on the board of directors and on the legal committee of the ACLU of Georgia. He is currently chairman of the editorial board of Human Rights, the magazine of the American Bar Association's Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section, and a member of the editorial board of Communications Lawyer, the journal of the ABA's Forum on Communications Law. He is also co-chair of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section’s First Amendment Committee.

Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion

The book is a sweeping and revealing insider look at court history and the life of William Brennan, champion of free speech and public access to information, and widely considered the most influential Supreme Court justice of the twentieth century. Before his death, Brennan granted coauthor Stephen Wermiel access to a trove of personal and court materials that will not be available to the public until 2017. Wermiel also conducted more than 60 hours of interviews with Brennan over the course of six years. No other biographer has enjoyed this kind of access to a Supreme Court justice or to his papers.

Justice Brennan makes public for the first time the contents of what Jeffrey Toobin calls "a coveted set of documents," Brennan's case histories, in which he recorded the strategizing behind all the major battles of the past half century, including Roe v. Wade, affirmative action, the death penalty, obscenity law, and the constitutional right to privacy. Revelations on a more intimate scale include how Brennan refused to hire female clerks even as he wrote groundbreaking women's rights decisions; his complex stance as a justice and a Catholic; and new details on Brennan's unprecedented working relationship with Chief Justice Earl Warren.

The Annual Forum on the American Justice System

Tickets: $18 for members, $30 for non-members
Registration: www.cityclub.org

Added by The City Club of Cleveland on April 19, 2011