Trump to name Supreme Court nominee – USC experts available for interviews

July 9, 2018

On July 9, 2018, President Donald Trump will be announcing his nominee to replace the spot left open with Justice Kennedy’s retirement at 9:00 PM EDT / 6:00 PM PDT.

What will this mean for the make-up of the Supreme Court? How will upcoming cases be affected? What are the implications short-term and long-term for constitutional law and a wide variety of rights? Experts at USC are available before and after the nominee announcement today. 

Contact: Jeremy Pepper at (213) 740-8606 or; Gilien Silsby at (213) 500-8673 or

Franita Tolson: Expert in constitutional law, election law and legal history

Franita Tolson joined USC Gould School of Law in June 2017. Professor Tolson’s scholarship and teaching are focused on the areas of election law, constitutional law, legal history and employment discrimination. Her forthcoming book, “A Promise Unfulfilled: Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Future of the Right to Vote”, will be published in 2019 by Cambridge University Press.

Prior to joining the USC Gould faculty, Professor Tolson was the Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights at Florida State University College of Law. Tolson was also a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Prior to academia, she clerked for the Hon. Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Hon. Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois.

Tolson is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas Mulroy Prize for Oral Advocacy in the Hinton Moot Court Competition.


  • election law
  • constitutional law
  • legal history
  • employment discrimination
  • gerrymandering
  • campaign finance reform
  • 14th and 15th amendment

Contact: mobile (213) 500-8673‬ or

Sam Erman: Expert in constitutional law, legal history and the Supreme Court

Sam Erman is an associate professor of law at  USC Gould School of Law, who clerked for Judge Anthony M. Kennedy and John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court and Judge Merrick B. Garland of the United States Court of Appeals.

He received his JD from the University of Michigan Law School, summa cum laude, and his PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. He completed his AB in English at Harvard College, cum laude.


  • Supreme Court
  • constitutional law
  • legal history
  • U.S.-Puerto Rico relations
  • anti-discrimination law
  • 14th amendment
  • race and gender discrimination law
  • status and citizenship

Contact: (213) 740-6372, mobile ‭(734) 717-2642‬ or (213) 500-8673 or

Alison Renteln: Political scientist with expertise in cultural issues, constitutional rights and American politics

Alison Renteln, is a professor of political science at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences with joint appointments at the USC Gould School of Law, USC Price School of Public Policy and is a Faculty Fellow, Center for Excellence in Teaching. She focuses on international law, human rights, comparative legal systems, constitutional law and legal and political theory. An expert on cultural rights, including the use of the “cultural defense” in the legal system, Renteln has lectured to judicial organizations and law enforcement groups on the subject.

Renteln has served on the State Bar Commission on Access to Justice and the California Judicial Council Access and Fairness Advisory Committee, and as a member of the California Attorney General’s Commission on Hate Crimes. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an MA from the UC Berkeley, a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from UC Berkeley, and a JD from USC Gould School of Law.


  • International law and human rights
  • cultural defense (the relevance of cultural background in court cases)
  • cultural diversity, ethnic identity and the law
  • constitutional law
  • U.S. politics
  • political and legal theory
  • legal anthropology
  • the comparative judicial process (folk law and legal pluralism)
  • legal issues relating to ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples
  • human rights in national and international politics
  • same-sex marriage
  • civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, prisoners’ rights, the rights of people with disabilities
  • religious freedom

Contact: (213) 740-3428, mobile (626) 536-5963 or

Jeb Barnes: Expert on U.S. politics and public policy

Jeb Barnes is a professor of political science, and a Dornsife Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the USC Dornsife College, where he teaches courses on law, American politics and institutional analysis. Barnes studies the intersection between law, politics and public policy and mixed-method research strategies. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Political Science department.

Since coming to USC in 2001, Barnes has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on law, public policy and research methods and five books: “How Policy Shapes Politics: Rights, Courts, and Litigation and the Struggle over Injury Compensation” (2015) (with Thomas F. Burke); “Finding Pathways: Mixed-Method Research for Studying Causal Mechanism” (2014) (with Nicholas Weller); “Dust Up: Asbestos Litigation and the Failure of Commonsense Policy Reform” (2011); and, “Overruled? Legislative Overrides, Pluralism, and Contemporary Court-Congress Relations” (2004).

Barnes received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and his J.D. from University of Chicago Law School.


  • law, politics and public policy in the U.S.
  • politics of legal reform
  • courts and judicial processes
  • civil and criminal justice systems
  • electoral reform

Barnes was recently quoted in the “Los Angeles Times” regarding the Democratic Party mobilizing against Supreme Court nominees.

Contact: (213) 740-1689 or

Orin Kerr: Expert in criminal procedure and computer crime

Orin S. Kerr joined the faculty at USC Gould School of Law in January 2018 as the Frances R. and John J. Duggan Distinguished Professor of Law. Before becoming a professor, Kerr was a trial attorney in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. He is a former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Judge, as well as a former law clerk for Leonard I. Garth of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Kerr specializes in criminal procedure and computer crime law, and he has also taught courses in criminal law, evidence, and professional responsibility. He has written more than 60 law review articles, over 40 of which have been cited in judicial opinions (including seven articles that have been cited in U.S. Supreme Court opinions).


  • Criminal procedure
  • Computer crime law
  • Internet surveillance
  • Criminal law Evidence
  • Supreme Court

Contact: (213) 500-8673‬ or