In a panel discussion on how the Supreme Court will handle issues in the upcoming term last week, Harvard Law School Lecturer Tom Goldstein predicted that future decisions will continue to support increased executive power.

“The great lions of liberalism on the Supreme Court are completely gone,” Goldstein, lead writer for SCOTUSBlog, said. “The center on the Court has moved quite far from where it was in the Warren era.”

Goldstein took questions from HLS students, including one about the controversy over references to foreign law in Supreme Court opinions. Because of a backlash among conservatives over such references, he said it is likely the justices will curtail citations to foreign law. 

Goldstein closed the event by discussing the effect of the Presidential election on the balance of the Court. Any potential McCain nominee would undoubtedly be conservative and an Obama nominee would be, at best, centrist or slightly liberal, he said. As such, the way Goldstein sees it, “no matter what, the Court gets more conservative.”

Goldstein is a partner with the Washington, D.C., office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP. He will co-teach the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic in the Winter Term of 2009.