Image - Erwin Chemerinsky

San Francisco

Erwin Chemerinsky: The Changing Role of the U.S. Supreme Court

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With the recent appointments of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, the balance on the U.S. Supreme Court has shifted fundamentally toward the conservatives, and a series of precedent-breaking decisions issued during the 2022 session confirms it. The implications of the Dodd decision alone are far reaching for individual rights, not to mention those cases that focus on the government’s ability to regulate policy in areas like immigration, the environment, the separation of church and state, and gun safety. In many respects, the court majority's ideological shift to an originalist approach to constitutional interpretation has upset the balance of power and redrawn the traditional lines separating the three branches of government in our democracy.  

As the court opens its fall session, Dean Chemerinsky will discuss the new justices and these recent decisions as well as upcoming cases before the court  which address critical issues like affirmative action and the independence of state legislatures. He will shed light on how the changing role of the Supreme Court might affect the future of our democracy. 

He will also discuss Chemerinsky’s new book, Worse than Nothing:  The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism.


This program has 2 types of tickets available: In-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Safety Protocols for in-person attendance:

  • We follow best practices laid out by the CDC and state and local guidelines.
  • We strongly recommend vaccination for guests, staff, and volunteers.
  • Masks are strongly encouraged while indoors (if you do not have one and would like one, inquire at our front desk for a complimentary mask).
  • We reserve the right to require different rules for specific events as necessary.

Our LEED Gold-certified building is designed to cool with outside air, using digitally controlled moveable windows and large ceiling fans. We are deploying additional HEPA filters inside to scrub the air. This is all in addition to increased cleaning of surfaces throughout the building.

Copies of Worse than Nothing are available for purchase during checkout (U.S. domestic shipping only).

We welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our online programming.

This program is part of an ongoing series on the Future of Democracy.

Future of Democracy series

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Thu, Oct 13 / 6:00 pm PDT

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky

Dean, University of California Berkeley School of Law

Image - Roy Eisenhardt

Roy Eisenhardt

Lecturer, University of California Berkeley School of Law—Moderator


5:30 p.m. doors open & check-in
6–7 p.m. program
(all times PDT)


$10 members
$20 nonmembers
$35 members with book
$45 nonmembers with book
Free students (with valid I.D.)
$5 members
$10 nonmembers
$30 members with book
$35 nonmembers with Book