The Supreme Court in a maelstrom: What is at stake for American justice and governance?

Webinar · 23.04.2024 16:00 - 17:00

The Supreme Court in a maelstrom: What is at stake for American justice and governance?

Tuesday, 23 April, 2024 at 16:00-17:00 EEST/15:00-16:00 CEST


On April 25, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the criminal case of Donald Trump versus the United States of America – a milestone in American jurisprudence. In 2023 Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury for seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims. Trump’s lawyers argue that the former president enjoys “absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for his official acts.” In response, the Special Counsel, representing the US Government, categorically rejects that claim, noting that the President’s constitutional duty to oversee the execution of laws does not entail a right to violate them.

The Trump case is not the only challenge facing the Supreme Court. Rulings are expected soon on cases brought by anti-abortion groups, and by conservative activists aiming to limit the powers of federal agencies in matters such as environmental, health, and consumer protection. Meanwhile, media reports of alleged close relationships between some Justices and ultra-wealthy raise questions about the Court’s willingness to enforce its declared ethical standards. These challenges help explain why surveys show a precipitous drop in recent years in the public’s view of the “legitimacy” of Supreme Court decisions – a source of growing concern among many Americans for whom rule of law is fundamental to a functioning republic.

This webinar is a part of a webinar series Transatlantic Currents featuring American experts of political science and international relations organized by the Center on US Politics and Power at FIIA. The series covers a wide array of timely topics from foreign and defense policy to domestic issues. 



Opening words: Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Leading Researcher, FIIA

Speaker: Elizabeth Porter, James W. Mifflin Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law

Chair: Leo Michel, Non-Resident Fellow, FIIA


Opening words

Charly Salonius-Pasternak

Leading Researcher, FIIA

Charly Salonius-Pasternak is a Leading Researcher at FIIA and leads the work of the Center on US Politics and Power (CUSPP). His work at FIIA focuses on international security issues, especially Nordic and transatlantic security (including NATO), as well as U.S. foreign and defence policy. Recently he has focused on Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation and the evolution of US and NATO alliance reassurance approaches in light of the changed regional security situation. In 2017, he was a visiting research fellow at the Changing Character of War programme at Pembroke College (Oxford University), where he studied the hybridization of warfare and the impact of the Information Age on the character of war.


Elizabeth Porter

James W. Mifflin Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law

Liz Porter is an Associate Professor and Charles I. Stone Professor of Law. Her research, which has been published in top journals including the Columbia Law Review, the New York University Law Review, and the Cornell Law Review, focuses on civil litigation. In particular, Professor Porter's scholarship reveals and analyzes the newly emerging role that visual media play in litigation documents from pleadings to judicial opinions. In addition to her written work, Professor Porter co-founded and continues to organize the Civil Procedure Workshop. Professor Porter teaches Civil Procedure I, Civil Procedure II, Complex Litigation, Torts, and Federal Courts. In 2014, she received a University-wide Distinguished Teaching Award.

Professor Porter has a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a James Kent Scholar, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and an Articles Editor for the Columbia Law Review. During OT 2002, she was a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court. After her clerkships, she practiced commercial litigation at Jenner & Block LLP in Washington, D.C.


Leo Michel

Non-Resident Fellow, FIIA

Leo Michel is Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. His previous government positions included: Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies; Director for NATO Policy and Director for Non-Nuclear Arms Control in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Deputy U.S. Representative to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Consultative Commission as well as other government positions. Michel holds a M.A. from Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from Princeton University.