This discussion guide is for use with the video “Deciding Difficult Cases,” which features Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, interviewing the Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, at the Fair and Impartial Judiciary Symposium on October 26, 2019, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Summary: Jeffrey Rosen and Judge Emmet G. Sullivan discuss the 2008 public corruption trial of longtime Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. Stevens’ prosecution cost him reelection, and his defeat deprived the GOP of its narrow majority in the U.S. Senate at the time. Sullivan, who presided over the trial, chastised the prosecutors and the U.S. Justice Department, in general, for their mishandling of evidence and misconduct in the case. Sullivan’s role in these developments are a testament to the importance of judicial independence.