November 6, 2000

November 6, 2000 | News Releases on Legal Issues

Heritage Foundation Creates Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2000-The Heritage Foundation today announced creation of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, which will expand the think tank's research and education initiatives dealing with legal and constitutional issues.

Headed by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Heritage's Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy, the center will educate government officials, the media and the public about the Constitution, legal principles, and how they affect public policy.

"During the past 50 years, we've seen a largely unchecked expansion of the power exercised by judges and regulators to run nearly every aspect of our lives, but we should never forget that the Constitution places limits on their power," Meese said.

"Much of the talk about the Constitution being a 'living document' is little more than code-speak to cover a wide range of activities that are constitutionally suspect," he added. "This is wrong, and the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies aims to correct that trend."

Meese and Todd Gaziano, Heritage's Senior Fellow in Legal Studies, said the Center will provide additional resources to expand Heritage's legal programs, which will include:

  • Holding moot court sessions for Supreme Court cases. The Center plans to increase its moot court program to help lawyers rehearse and prepare the arguments they will present before the Supreme Court. The moot court faculty features lawyers who worked for Supreme Court justices and who frequently argue cases before the high court, giving them unique standing to offer advice and critique performances.

  • Issuing Supreme Court alerts. The Center will increase its coverage of Supreme Court actions. Currently serving more than 100 conservative scholars, this e-mail service has been expanded in recent years to include updates on every Supreme Court opinion or order. The service will also cover important oral arguments and help coordinate the filing of amicus briefs. As a result, conservatives will be kept abreast of breaking news and will be better able to comment on important cases to the media.

  • Dispensing legal advice. Heritage already provides legal advice to members of Congress and congressional committees on a regular basis, and the Center will enable Heritage to make this advice more widely available. This includes written and oral testimony at congressional hearings, often on the constitutionality of a pending bill or a legal reform issue.

  • Helping public-interest law groups. "More and more organizations are springing up across the country that bring a healthy perspective to public-interest law," notes Gaziano. "They share Heritage's respect for individual rights and its free-market, limited-government vision. The Center will help them coordinate their efforts and communicate their ideas more effectively in the legal arena."

  • Providing education on crime-control issues. Working with Heritage's Center for Data Analysis and other Heritage scholars, the Center will increase its analysis of crime and law enforcement statistics and show how the data can be used to improve the criminal justice system.

In addition, the Center will host a visiting scholars program, which will allow academics in law or criminal justice to work at Heritage while on leave from their universities or other institutions.

With more than 200,000 individual, foundation and corporate supporters, The Heritage Foundation is the most broadly supported public policy research institute in the country. The foundation currently has a staff of 185 and an annual budget of $30 million.

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