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Duke Law Professor To Argue Two Cases Before U.S. Supreme Court

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Erwin Chemerinsky
DURHAM, N.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court justices hear only 75 cases a year, which is roughly one percent of the cases submitted for review. In the next three weeks, the justices will hear from the same man twice.

On most days, Erwin Chemerinsky makes his point on a big white board. Even when the subject is dry, he clearly captivates his audience.

"Our section is really lucky to have him. We love him," student David Cook said.

"He definitely knows what he's talking about. He rattles cases off the top of his head," student Jessica Hoffman said.

On Wednesday, the Duke law professor trades in the sweater and moves from the classroom to the U.S. Supreme Court. Chemerinsky admits to having some jitters.

"I think any lawyer gets nervous before going before the Supreme Court," he said. "There are no group of judges in the country who are better prepared, more intelligent."

Chemerinsky will argue that a monument which displays the Ten Commandments violates the First Amendment separating church and state. The statue sits between the Texas State Capitol building and the Supreme Court.

Chemerinsky is arguing another case involving free speech before the justices at the end of the month. He will challenge a lower court ruling that prevents a California man from criticizing lawyer Johnny Cochran in public.

"I still believe that to make society better, the best chance to do it is through the law and the Constitution," Chemerinsky said.

Each time, Chemerinsky gets only 30 minutes to argue his case. Then, it is back to the classroom and back to the captive audience.

Chemerinsky argued another case before the U.S. Supreme Court about three years ago. It involved the three strikes law. The justices ruled against him and his client. Rulings in both of his latest cases are expected by June.


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