Faculty Spotlight

On Air: Professor Bonventre Previews ‘Blockbuster’ Supreme Court Term

Vin Bonventre

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The Supreme Court of the United States began its new term Oct. 2 with a full bench and a number of big cases on the docket. But what exactly are those cases, and how might they play out? What is at stake? And what should we expect from Justice Neil Gorsuch in his first full term?

Vincent Bonventre, Justice Robert H. Jackson Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School, answered those questions and more for audiences across New York State and as far away as Phoenix, Az., while previewing what some have described as a “blockbuster” term that will tackle significant issues such as partisan gerrymandering, gay rights and religious liberty, and public-sector union dues.

As a guest on Spectrum News’ political program Capital Tonight, Professor Bonventre said, “These are really, really significant cases. And of course they’re close. … It’s almost a sure thing [Justice Anthony Kennedy] will be a swing vote on a few of the major cases.”

On WCNY’s statewide radio show The Capitol Pressroom, Professor Bonventre discussed the judicial philosophy of Justice Gorsuch, explained the difference between originalism and textualism, and talked about the makeup of the Court. “This isn’t new, but what is different now over the last few decades is that the court is divided not just politically, which is always the case,” he said, “it’s a divide between Republican appointees and Democratic appointees.”

He also joined KJZZ-FM, NPR’s Phoenix affiliate, to analyze the term and the record to date of Justice Gorsuch, whose opinions, according to Professor Bonventre, could push Chief Justice John Roberts to a more moderate position. “That has happened before with other justices,” he said.

Aside from his media appearances, Professor Bonventre has given some recent lectures on the Supreme Court. ​On September 19, he presented "Justice Neil Gorsuch: His Appellate Past as Supreme Prologue" to the Green Mountain Academy. The month prior he gave a “Supreme Court Update” at the Government Law Center's Summer in Saratoga CLE Series in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Professor Bonventre teaches, comments, and advises on courts, judges, and various areas of public law, including judicial process, the Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals, criminal law, and civil liberties. Prior to joining the Albany Law School faculty in 1990, he was a law clerk to Judges Matthew J. Jasen and Stewart F. Hancock Jr. of the Court of Appeals. Between those clerkships, he was selected by Chief Justice Warren Burger to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court Judicial Fellow. Previously, he served two tours in the U.S. Army—one in military intelligence and one as trial counsel in the JAG Corps.

Professor Bonventre is the author of New York Court Watcher, a blog devoted to research and commentary on the U.S. Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals. He is also the founder and editor of State Constitutional Commentary, an annual publication of the Albany Law Review devoted to American state constitutional law, and he is the founder and director of the Center for Judicial Process.

Vincent Bonventre