Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Students Help Shape Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Case

Anne Juterbock
Anne Juterbock

Anne Juterbock '05 came to law school thinking she might use her B.S. in Business Management in a transactional practice. But like so many who come to Moritz, she found that opportunities can reshape thinking.

Anne had Professor David Goldberger for Constitutional Law during her first year of law school. That led to work as his research assistant and participation in his Civil Law Clinic. In the past year, she has helped him with Cutter v. Wilkinson, as well as an article for the Election Law @ Moritz project in which he listed her as a co-author - "typical of his willingness to give credit to others," she says.

Cutter v. Wilkinson involves prison inmates who sued the State of Ohio, claiming they were denied access to religious literature and ceremonial items under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The statute, which was enacted by Congress, requires states to accommodate prisoners' religious beliefs unless the prison officials can show that there is compelling reason not to accommodate the request. The Sixth Circuit invalidated the statute as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause. The prison inmates sought Supreme Court review.

"This case is an important case because it should clarify the power of state and federal government to lift governmental burdens from religious exercise of all prisoners without violating the Establishment Clause," says Professor Goldberger. "The case may also define the degree to which Congress may condition its appropriations to state governments based on their willingness to comply with the congressional funding requirement."

Ohio Solicitor and Moritz Professor on leave Douglas Cole, who briefed and will argue on behalf of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, counters that the case is about prison safety. "We believe that prison wardens are in the best position to make decisions about the security implications of various kinds of prisoner requests, and that the federal government should not be foisting a 'one-size-fits-all' solution on the states."

Anne believes the complexity of the lawsuit has given her a better understanding of how a multitude of issues can fit together in a single case. She is, for the first time, considering a career in litigation.

David Goldberger
Professor Goldberger with the press on the Supreme Court steps following the McIntyre v. Ohio
Elections Commission

Regardless of career choice, Anne has expanded her research skills and has become a more expressive writer. She says Professor Goldberger explains the legal theory behind every research assignment he gives. He is always encouraging and systematically provides important feedback about her legal analysis.

Practically, she has mastered the Establishment Clause and, with fellow student Jaime Klausner, drafted the in forma pauperius petition that accompanied the initial petition for certiorari filed in the Supreme Court.

Watching Professor Goldberger up close, Anne says that it is clear that his first and overwhelming interest is in serving his clients' best interests. "In a case as high profile as this," she says, "there are outside interest groups who try to persuade counsel to emphasize their issues. That's not what's important to Professor Goldberger." Observing him over the past year has also given her a clear sense of how much time and effort goes into preparing a case of this magnitude.

A strong advocate of skills training, Professor Goldberger has involved students in other important cases, including McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, which also reached the U.S. Supreme Court.