WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 30, 2005) — Following the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision on Monday, June 27 in the Castle Rock v. Gonzales case, Richard Smith, partner with the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery, and John Eastman, constitutional professor of Law at Chapman University, have entered into a week-long online debate on the Court’s ruling and its implications. Smith and Eastman were both directly involved with this case before the Court—Eastman argued on behalf of the Castle Rock Police Department and Smith, in pro bono representation, filed an amicus brief in support of Jessica Gonzales on behalf of a number of law enforcement associations.
In the first ever domestic violence case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court held that the Castle Rock Police Department did not violate Ms. Gonzales’s right to due process. By declaring that there is no federal constitutional right to police protection, the Court returned to state governments the responsibility of enforcing restraining orders and protecting potential victims of domestic violence.
Hosted by SCOTUSblog (www.scotusblog.com), a well-regarded weblog devoted to Supreme Court affairs maintained by Supreme Court litigation firm Goldstein & Howe, the online forum presents the first opportunity for the two lawyers to publicly debate the results of the landmark case. The two are submitting alternating postings throughout the week, and readers will have the opportunity to comment directly on Smith and Eastman’s arguments. To access the debate, visit http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/archives/2005/06/the_castle_rock.html/.
"This case raises enormous constitutional and legislative issues of grave concern, especially to victims of domestic violence," said Smith. "To have the opportunity instantly and publicly to debate these issues is unique. And it is a useful way to highlight some of the nuances of the case that were overlooked in the enormity of the original proceedings."
Supreme Court rules generally limit presentations to one person per side, which in this case included John Eastman on behalf of the town.
"I am delighted to participate in this SCOTUSblog debate," said Eastman. "It gives us the opportunity to discuss the case in greater depth than a standard newspaper story, and in a more timely manner than is possible with the extended treatment of a law review."
Tom Goldstein, name partner with Goldstein & Howe, saw this as chance to enrich the ongoing public dialog about the case. "We're extremely pleased that the blog is able to provide a forum for genuine, thoughtful discussion so quickly on the heels of such an important case from the leading people involved in the case," commented Goldstein.