SCOTUSblog on camera: Walter Dellinger (Complete)
“In many ways, if you want to know what moves the Court to decide cases, listen to oral argument, which is much more like the Supreme Court’s Id. Opinions are like the Supreme Court’s Super Ego.”
Walter Dellinger is the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law at Duke University and a Partner in the Washington, DC, office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he is a member of the Appellate Practice Group. Dellinger advised President William J. Clinton on constitutional issues in 1993 and then served in the Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1993 to 1996. He was Acting Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the Supreme Court. He graduated with Honors in Political Science from the University of North Carolina and from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He served as law clerk to Justice Hugo L. Black for the Court’s 1968-69 Term.
In this five-part interview, Mr. Dellinger discusses his background, including his emerging awareness of the civil rights movement growing up in North Carolina and talking his way into Yale Law School; his clerkship for Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black; how the Court has changed since the Warren Court years; the importance of a Court made up of Justices with diverse experiences; the importance and experience of oral argument; life in the White House and in the Justice Department, as head of the Office of Legal Counsel and as Solicitor General; nominating a Supreme Court Justice; and the relationship between the media’s coverage of the Court and public understanding of the Court.