Yesterday I attended an interesting luncheon celebrating the 92nd Anniversary of the San Francisco Legal Aid Society. The event honored Colonel William A. Gunn, who oversaw the defense of Guantanamo detainees before military commissions. Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift, who argued Hamdan v. Rumsefeld before the Supreme Court and won, introduced his former boss.
With names like Bill Gunn and Chuck Swift, these guys definitely should have been actors or rock stars. Both spoke eloquently and their stories were inspiring.
The theme of the event was “We’re off to see the future” and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, the keynote speaker, offered three predictions for the future. Surprisingly, none of them involved UC Irvine School of Law’s impending domination.
First, Chemerinsky predicted that gay marriage would be legal in the United States within his lifetime. Second, he argued that the SCOTUS would remain conservative for at least a decade, regardless of who wins the next presidential election. Finally, he predicted that, within his lifetime, the death penalty would be abolished in the United States.
As I’ve mentioned before, professors are old. Chemerinsky, at 55, is no exception, which makes his first and third predictions even bolder. His second prediction, though, seems at odds with the other two. A conservative court would likely not overturn the Defense of Marriage Act or a death penalty law on constitutional grounds. I can only assume that Chemerinsky is counting on electoral, and, thus, legislative, shifts to the left on the gay marriage and death penalty issues.