The University of Arizona

Spring 2012 Newsletter

Constitution Day: An Outstanding Community Outreach


The Rehnquist Center presented its annual Constitution Day Program on September 16, 2011. A distinguished panel of speakers discussed three important cases decided during the most recent term of the Supreme Court of the United States. Also on the agenda were two lower court cases challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As usual, the annual program drew a great deal of student and community interest and a standing-room-only crowd.

Panelists included Linda Greenhouse, Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence at Yale Law School; Ted Cruz, a partner in Morgan Lewis's Litigation Practice; Judge Neil V. Wake, United States District Court for the District of Arizona; Toni Massaro, Regents' Professor and Dean Emerita of the James E. Rogers College of Law; and moderator David Marcus, Associate Professor at the College of Law. As noted by a popular area blogger, "the panelists did their part to make the Constitution come alive" with "the breadth and passion of the conversation." And Professor Marcus, in "crafting mini-vignettes" of each case, presented "whirlwind" summaries of each that were "more tour de force than simple tour."

2011 Constitution Day Program cases:
  • Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett
  • Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assoc.
  • Leal Garcia v. Texas
  • Thomas More Law Center v. Obama (6th Cir. 6/29/11)
  • State of Florida v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (11th Cir. 8/12/11)

The Center's annual Constitution Day Program is held in conjunction with the nationwide commemoration of the day in 1787 that the United States Constitution was approved and signed by thirty-nine of its framers. In 2010, the Center's program also included Judge Wake and Professors Massaro and Marcus on the panel. They were joined by Maureen Mahoney, a member of the Supreme Court and appellate practice in the Washington, D.C., office of Latham & Watkins and a former U.S. Deputy Solicitor General. Among the cases discussed were McDonald v. Chicago and Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.


To view the 2011 Constitution Day Program, click here.

Volunteers Educate Hundreds of Area High School Students Through the John M. Roll Judicial Education InitiativeStudents and teachers at several Tucson high schools are participating in the John M. Roll Judicial Education Initiative. Local attorneys and judges, along with professors and students from the College of Law, volunteer their time to teach students about the role of the judicial branch in our constitutional system of government. The two-hour course focuses on how the judicial branch - and particularly the ideal of judicial independence - contributes to the rule of law.

Judge Roll was killed on January 8, 2011, while attending Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' Congress on Your Corner event. Recognizing Judge Roll's lifelong dedication to the rule of law and his unwavering commitment to the strength and vitality of the judiciary, the Rehnquist Center named this constitutional literacy program in his honor.

Professor Barbara Atwood and U.S. District Court Judge Frank Zapata brought the program to Tucson High School students recently. The students asked questions ranging from "How does a case get to the Supreme Court?" to "Is the three strikes and you're out law always fair?"

Tucson High Social Studies Department Head Robin Batty hopes that the John M. Roll Program will be presented to all seniors, and plans to continue this program every year at the school. The Rehnquist Center hopes that the program can be brought to other Arizona cities and school districts nationwide. Those interested in volunteering should contact Marlene Cooksey at

Left to right:  Judge Frank Zapata, Professor Barbara Atwood and Tucson High teacher, Mr. David Bachman-Williams Judge Zapata explains the court system to students in a U.S. Government class at Tucson High

Rehnquist Center Welcomes
New Program Coordinator

Marlene Cooksey joined the Rehnquist Center in August as the new Program Coordinator. She has been with the University of Arizona for eleven years, most recently in the English Department as the program assistant for the MFA in Creative Writing Program. She has also taught language arts in Tucson area middle schools.

Although new to the area of law herself, Marlene has twin daughters who are both in the legal field. Vanessa is an attorney in Los Angeles and Kristen works as a paralegal in Montana. "Being part of the College of Law must have been in the cards," she notes. "I'm excited about the future of the Rehnquist Center and look forward to many new projects."

Originally from Chicago, Marlene admits to being a Cubs fan and a pizza aficionado. She'll tell you where to get a good slice in Tucson - just ask!

Rehnquist Center Co-Sponsors Symposium - Public Understanding of the Courts in the Age of Media

Gaining a better public understanding of the courts through the use of digital media was the focus of the February 18, 2011, symposium in Phoenix. Four panels, comprised of attorneys, journalists, federal judges and court administrators, discussed how the Internet, social media, and new media outlets affect not only coverage of the courts, but how court proceedings are conducted. Among the panelists were Pete Williams, NBC News Justice Correspondent, and Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor delivered the keynote address.

The free public event was sponsored by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements and co-sponsored by The Rehnquist Center and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The symposium was aired the following week on C-SPAN2.

You can view the program here:


Center Brings Arizona Supreme Court to Campus

In September 2011, the Rehnquist Center hosted the Arizona Supreme Court and in March 2012 it hosted a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.  Each year the Center hosts oral arguments heard by the Arizona Supreme Court, the Arizona Court of Appeals, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

For each of these court visits, the Ares Auditorium is typically filled to capacity with students, lawyers, and members of the public. The arguments are video streamed into nearby classrooms to accommodate the crowd.  After the arguments, the Justices and Judges answer questions from the audience, which usually includes local high school students.

Click here to watch Arizona Supreme Court oral argument 1: RIVERA-LONGORIA v. HON. SLAYTON/STATE/ROZEMA

Click here to watch Arizona Supreme Court oral argument 2: VASQUEZ v SAXON MORTGAGE INC., et al

Law Students Lunch With Two Esteemed Guests


Not only did Linda Greenhouse and Ted Cruz serve on the Constitution day Program panel, they also met with students earlier in the day for a brown bag lunch. Ms. Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times, and Mr. Cruz, an experienced Supreme Court and Appellate litigator, spent the hour answering questions about their careers and the courts.

The free event was hosted by the Rehnquist Center and co-sponsored by the student chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society.


Left to right:  Douglas Newborn, David Potts, Linda Greenhouse, Ted Cruz, Sally Rider, Nate Wade, Nick Verderame


              Sally Rider Inducted into Warren E. Burger Society


The National Center for State Courts recently inducted Sally Rider, Rehnquist Center Director, into the Warren E. Burger Society. Sally was one of eight inductees honored at the Society's Annual Recognition Luncheon in Washington, D.C.

The Warren E. Burger Society honors those who have volunteered their time, talent, and support to the National Center in exceptional ways.  It is named after the former Chief Justice of the United States, who helped found the NCSC in 1971. The NCSC is a nonprofit court reform organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts.