Jonathan Hack ’09 first became curious about the behind-the-scenes maneuverings that drive judicial decisions while he was still an undergraduate at Clark University. When a Supreme Court draft opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case leaked last month — a precursor to its recent overturning of Roe v. Wade — Hack was in a unique position to explain what the rest of the country might not know about how that decision was reached. The director of content and strategy for the Justice, Health, and Democracy Impact Initiative at Harvard University’s & Lily Safra Center for Ethics joined Clark’s Challenge. Change. podcast for a conversation about the process underpinning one of the court’s most controversial decisions.
Hack explains four general categories for considering influences on judicial decision-making, why the current Supreme Court is different than any other in recent history, and the balance needed for “good judging.”
“As much as we may want [judges and justices] to shed those realities of being human, they’re not machines,” Hack says. “[N]or do I think we actually want our judges and justices to be machines. Law is something that governs human behavior and human behavior is dynamic and is interesting and changes over time.”
During this episode, Hack references the books “Crafting Law on the Supreme Court” by Forrest Maltzman, James F. Spriggs, Paul J. Wahlbeck and “How Judges Think” by Richard A. Posner. Learn more about political science at Clark.
Challenge. Change. is produced by Melissa Hanson and Andrew Hart for Clark University. Find other episodes wherever you listen to podcasts.