A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Professor William G. Ross

2017 JURIST Contributing Editor: US Supreme Court

William G. Ross is Lucille Stewart Beeson Professor of Law at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, where he has taught since 1988. Professor Ross has written extensively on legal ethics, American legal history, and the federal judicial appointments process.

A nationally-recognized expert in constitutional history and federalism issues, Professor Ross has published many works on the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court justices and other federal judges. Particularly in his books A Muted Fury: Populists, Progressives and Labor Unions Confront the Courts, 1890-1937 and Forging New Freedoms: Nativism, Education, and the Constitution, 1917-1927, he has explored the dynamics of movements to curtail the powers of the federal courts.

Professor Ross has been contributing to JURIST since 2000, writing primarily on issues related to nomination, vetting and approval of US Supreme Court justices.

Professor William G. Ross's Columns
5 Apr 2017

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Samford University's Cumberland School of Law discusses the constitutional legacy of the First World War... American entry into the First World War one hundred years ago, on April 6, 1917, generated significant constitutional changes that resonate a century later. The war enormously expanded … [read more]

3 Feb 2017

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Samford University's Cumberland School of Law discusses the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch... Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's US Supreme Court nominee, deserves full and fair consideration by Senate Democrats, even though those who are embittered by the refusal of Senate … [read more]

2 Feb 2017

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University discusses the role of the Senate in the confirmation of executive nominees under the new administration... Controversies involving many of the persons nominated by President Trump to lead major executive agencies provide an important reminder … [read more]

15 Nov 2016

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Samford University's Cumberland School of Law discusses reform of the electoral college system...Hillary Rodham Clinton's victory over Donald J. Trump in the popular vote this presidential election has revived perennial proposals for the abolition or reform of the Electoral College. Although there are … [read more]

10 Oct 2016

JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross of the Cumberland School of Law discusses the implications that the choice to vote for either presidential candidate in this upcoming election will have in the Supreme Court... Since this year's presidential election is likely to tip the ideological balance of the US Supreme … [read more]

13 Jul 2016

JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University discusses Justice Ruth B. Ginsburg's open public opinion concerning Trumps' candidacy for presidency... Since justices during recent years have been increasingly uninhibited about making extrajudicial comments about a wide range of subjects, it was perhaps … [read more]

17 Feb 2016

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University discusses President Obama's refusal to make a recess appointment to fill the present vacancy on the US Supreme Court...In refusing to make a recess appointment to fill the present vacancy on the US Supreme … [read more]

31 Oct 2012

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of the Samford University's Cumberland School of Law says that the likelihood of vacancies on the Supreme Court during the next four years should make the Court an important issue in the election, even though it has largely been ignored by the current candidates... … [read more]

11 Apr 2012

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law says that the president's remarks on judicial review of health care reform may impede Obama from making the Supreme Court an issue in the upcoming presidential election...President Obama's strange swipe at judicial review on April 2 was a serious … [read more]

28 Feb 2012

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law says that the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is bound to cause tremendous amounts of litigation and to be challenged as unconstitutional or in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965...An under-publicized and constitutionally dubious movement to elect … [read more]

3 May 2010

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, says Arizona's controversial new immigration law appears to be constitutional, at least on its face, but the state must be scrupulously careful to avoid even the appearance of any kind of discrimination against Hispanics.... Arizona's controversial new … [read more]

16 Mar 2010

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, says recent comments by Chief Justice Roberts responding to President Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling were not disrespectful toward the institutions of Congress or the presidency or toward any particular person.... Chief Justice … [read more]

2 Feb 2010

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, says that although a president should naturally be careful to avoid demonstrating disrespect for the Supreme Court, the remarks President Obama recently made about the Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission during the State … [read more]

15 May 2009

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, says that while the US Court Supreme Court might benefit from the nomination of an elected public official, President Obama should not nominate such a person to serve as a Justice merely for the sake of diversifying … [read more]

4 Feb 2009

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, says that for various constitutional, political and practical reasons made all the more pressing by controversies surrounding a number of high-profile and now even withdrawn nominees, the US Senate should subject President Barack Obama's cabinet picks to … [read more]

16 Oct 2008

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, says that when they go to the polls in November, American voters should carefully consider the candidates' positions and likely impact on the federal courts as the outcome of the 2008 election could profoundly influence the decisions … [read more]

6 Nov 2007

JURIST Guest Columnist William G. Ross of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University says despite US attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey's success in winning approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the full Senate should take all the time it needs to consider his nomination even though the next attorney general … [read more]

31 Oct 2005

JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross, a specialist in constitutional history and the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court justices teaching at Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, says that the US Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito will be hard for Democrats or conservative Republicans to defeat... Opponents of … [read more]

17 Oct 2005

JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross of Cumberland Law School, Samford University, says that while the nomination of Harriet Miers to the US Supreme Court is not without its problems, the selection of close presidential associates for the high court is an historical commonplace, and several criticisms of Miers' background … [read more]

16 Sep 2005

In a JURIST Forum special, JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross, Professor of Law at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in Alabama, reviews the fourth day of the Senate confirmation hearings for US Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, and suggests that although the hearings may have provided few key … [read more]

15 Sep 2005

In a JURIST Forum special, JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross, Professor of Law at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in Alabama, reviews the third day of the Senate confirmation hearings for US Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, and suggests that while the nominee has so far shown humility, … [read more]

14 Sep 2005

In a JURIST Forum special, JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross, Professor of Law at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in Alabama, reviews the second day of the Senate confirmation hearings for US Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, and suggests that the eleven hours of testimony were as remarkable … [read more]

13 Sep 2005

In a JURIST Forum special, JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross, Professor of Law at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in Alabama, reviews the first day of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, and wonders about the baseball metaphor chosen by the nominee … [read more]

30 Aug 2005

JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross, Professor of Law at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in Alabama, says that in his upcoming Senate confirmation hearing US Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. may not reveal how he'll decide particular legal questions, but that doesn't mean that the questioning … [read more]

21 Oct 2004

JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross of Cumberland Law School at Samford University says that although the US Supreme Court has not been a significant issue thusfar in the current Presidential campaign, the likelihood of Presidential appointments to the Court in the next four years, combined with all the high-profile … [read more]

13 Dec 2000

The Court's authority — possessed of neither the purse nor the sword — ultimately rests on sustained public confidence in its moral sanction. Such feeling must be nourished by the Court's complete detachment, in fact and appearance, from political entanglements and by abstention from injecting itself into the clash of … [read more]

9 Dec 2000

In past elections, so-called "faithless electors" cast innocuously eccentric votes that provided a quaint reminder of one of the archaic curiosities of the presidential selection process. After providing a rare element of surprise in the otherwise perfunctory Electoral College ritual, these independent spirits who voted for someone other than their … [read more]

4 Dec 2000

The most complicated bit of governmental machinery which the modern world has to exhibit is that which is employed in the selection of the chief executive officer...for the United States...It is almost marvelous that any people should have preserved political unity for a century under such a loose and decentralized … [read more]

28 Nov 2000

The dispute over the election has developed into a constitutional crisis. With George W. Bush claiming victory and Al Gore refusing to concede, the election's outcome now seems destined to depend on judicial determination of complex and perhaps novel constitutional issues. Rather than attempting to resolve the actual vote count … [read more]

26 Nov 2000

The U.S. Supreme Court's intervention in the disputed presidential election was virtually inevitable, despite wishful predictions by Democrats that the Court would not meddle with state election law. As countless commentators have pointed out, the electoral impasse provides yet another illustration of the wisdom of Alexis de Tocqueville's overworked observation … [read more]

17 Nov 2000

It should be obvious to everyone by now that no one ever will know which presidential candidate actually won more popular votes, either in Florida or nationwide. The Florida recount process can never yield an accurate result, for efforts to divine the meaning of the notorious chads are hopelessly compromised … [read more]

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Academic Commentary is JURIST's platform for legal academics, offering perspectives by law professors on national and international legal developments. JURIST Forum welcomes submissions (about 1000 words in length - no footnotes, please), inquiries and comments at academiccommentary@jurist.org

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