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November 2015

Documentary on John Paul Stevens Being Shown Nov. 16 to SCU Campus

Documentary is based on a book by SCU Law Prof. Ken Manaster

A special viewing of a documentary on the unlikely origins of John Paul Stevens' ascension to the U.S. Supreme Court, based on a book by SCU Law Prof. Ken Manaster, will be held Nov. 16, in Bannan Room 127 at noon.

 SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 12, 2015 - Back in 1969 -- when the world had its first moon landing and Woodstock was just around the corner --   a scandal was playing out in Illinois that would ultimately lead to a little-known antitrust lawyer,  John Paul Stevens, becoming a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

The scandal involved two top justices on the Illinois Supreme Court, accused of being bribed by a prominent political leader involved in a case before their court. A commission investigating the case was led by a bow-tied 49-year-old, John Paul Stevens, whose scathing findings ultimately cemented his reputation for integrity and rule of law.

Six years later, when President Gerald Ford needed a squeaky clean nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court after Watergate, he chose Stevens, who went on to serve for 35 years. 

As a young lawyer, Santa Clara University School of Law Prof. Ken Manaster worked on the investigation with Stevens, and later wrote  a book on the events and helped produce a new PBS documentary on them, Unexpected Justice: The Rise of John Paul Stevens.

A special viewing of the documentary for SCU campus members will be held Monday, Nov. 16, in Bannan Room 127 at noon. 

Following the film there will be a panel discussion featuring Manaster, along with two former Supreme Court clerks, SCU Law professor Bradley Joondeph and SCU senior fellow Marina Hsieh, and Terri Peretti, a political science professor with an expertise in judicial politics.

 Copies of Manaster’s book, which has just been released in paperback, will be available at the screening. Profits from sales will go toward the Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship.

 “The story behind Justice Stevens is a surprising and positive one, and one that I wanted Americans and particularly law students to hear,” said Manaster.

The PBS documentary, narrated by Peter Coyote, has been shown numerous times in Chicago and is up for bidding this month to PBS stations nationwide. 

About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice.  Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options.  Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property.  For more information, see  

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121