KU News Service

Law professor Stephen McAllister can discuss ties with Scalia, justice's legacy

Mon, 02/15/2016

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas professor who specializes in constitutional law and who has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court nine times is available to discuss the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the future of the country’s highest court.

Stephen McAllister, the E.S. & Tom W. Hampton Distinguished Professor of Law at the KU School of Law, is available to discuss Scalia’s legacy, influence on the court, the process of naming a successor, what a prolonged replacement process could mean for the court and related topics.

Scalia, who died Saturday at the age of 79, was a conservative leader on the court for three decades. McAllister appeared before Scalia and the court nine times, including most recently in Kansas v. Carr in October 2015, a case in which Justice Scalia issued his final opinion for the Court.

“Irrespective of one’s views about the Constitution, it cannot be denied that Justice Scalia was a giant on the modern court, exerting significant influence on many constitutional and other legal doctrines, and writing with the most eloquent pen and sharpest wit,” McAllister said. “He often was a dominant figure during oral arguments and drew more laughs in the courtroom than any other justice.

“His untimely death during the middle of a term and a presidential election year is likely to have numerous consequences for the court and the country. The outcomes in some pending controversial cases likely will be affected by his absence, and replacing him may lead to a prolonged political battle between the president and a Republican-controlled Senate. Given the close balance on the Court, Justice Scalia’s replacement could dramatically affect the court going forward for years to come.”

McAllister clerked for justices Byron White and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court while Scalia was a member of the court. McAllister also hosted Scalia twice on campus during visits to the KU Law School and taught with him in the summer of 2005 in the law school’s study abroad program in Istanbul, Turkey.

McAllister is an expert in both federal and state constitutional law as well as Supreme Court history and Supreme Court practice. He is also solicitor general for the state of Kansas and most recently appeared before the high court, arguing two cases in the same week in October 2015.

To schedule an interview with McAllister, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or

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