PUBLISHED:July 13, 2021

Levy and Siegel testify before the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court


Professors Neil S. Siegel and Marin K. Levy spoke on a panel focused on the Supreme Court’s composition.

Professors Neil S. Siegel and Marin K. Levy testified at a meeting of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States on July 20, conducted virtually and live-streamed at​pcscotus/​.  

The commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals, according to its website. Siegel and Levy testified on a panel focused on the Supreme Court’s composition. 

In her written testimony, Levy sought to offer context by providing information about recent changes and attempts to change the size of state supreme courts, the subject of her recent paper Packing and Unpacking State Courts (61 William & Mary Law Review 1121-1158 (2020.)

Siegel's written testimony reviewed the constitutionality and justifications of court packing, as well as the negative effects on the perceived legitimacy of the Court that court packing might provoke. He noted that two other reform proposals – term limits for Justices and expanding and diversifying the federal courts of appeals – "would enhance both the legitimacy and the accountability of the federal court system as a whole."

Professor Neil Siegel
Professor Neil Siegel

Siegel, the David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, and director of Duke Law’s D.C. Institute on Law and Policy, is a constitutional law generalist. His scholarship addresses a variety of areas of constitutional law and, in doing so, considers ways in which a methodologically pluralist approach can accommodate changes in society and the needs of American governance while remaining disciplined and bound by the rule of law.

Siegel served as special counsel to U.S. Senator Christopher Coons during the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, and he advised Senator Coons during the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Neil M. Gorsuch. Siegel also served as special counsel to U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden during the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of John G. Roberts and Samuel A. Alito.

During the October 2003 term, Siegel clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice during the tenure of Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, and as a law clerk to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Professor Marin Levy
Professor Marin Levy

Levy’s principal academic interests include judicial administration, civil procedure, remedies, and federal courts. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal, University of Chicago Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Cornell Law Review, and California Law Review, among other scholarly journals, and has been discussed in the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, and other public outlets. Levy is also a co-author of Federal Standards of Review: Appellate Court Review of District Court Decisions and Agency Actions (2nd ed.) with Judge Harry T. Edwards and Linda A. Elliott.

Levy joined the Duke Law faculty in 2009, and received the law school’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017. She currently serves as the Director of Duke’s Program in Public Law, and is a faculty advisor to the Bolch Judicial Institute. Prior to coming to Duke, she served as a law clerk to Judge José A. Cabranes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was an associate at Jenner & Block LLP in Washington, D.C.

President Biden established the commission in April. Three Duke Law faculty were tapped to serve as commissioners: Walter E. Dellinger III, the Douglas B. Maggs Professor Emeritus of Law; Margaret H. Lemos, the Robert G. Seaks LL.B. ’34 Professor of Law; and David F. Levi, Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute.

Jeff Peck T ‘79, a former senior lecturing fellow at the Law School, and Christopher Kang ’09 also testified at the commission's July 20 meeting.