Steamboat Springs New York Times reporter Adam Liptak took a few minutes out of a busy day to discuss his speaking engagement in Steamboat Springs.
Liptak, who reports on the Supreme Court for the Times, was monitoring the Senate confirmation hearings of court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor today. Despite the big news, he's headed to Steamboat and will speak Thursday as the first in the lineup of the Seminars at Steamboat.
Liptak graduated from Yale University and later got his law degree there. He practiced law for 15 years before joining the Times as a legal reporter, and he's covered the Supreme Court for about a year. He plans to speak Thursday about the court's role and his reporting on it.
"I want to talk a little bit about what it's like to cover this interesting and somewhat inaccessible institution called the Supreme Court," Liptak said. "So part of it will be to talk about the odd journalistic task of covering an institution that in one way is quite secretive and in another way has some really significant public aspects like arguments and decisions."
Liptak said he expected the Senate to confirm Sotomayor as a justice. He said she probably wouldn't turn the tide in the court.
"She leans in the liberal direction, and the person she's going to replace is David Souter, so for the most part it's a one-to-one replacement that won't fundamentally change the makeup of the court," Liptak said.
Bob Stein said he thought Liptak would provide insight about how the court could affect Steamboat on a local level. Stein is on the board of the Seminars at Steamboat and arranged for Liptak to participate in the series.
He said he heard Liptak speak in Washington and was impressed.
"He's a terrific speaker; he's an engaging speaker," Stein said.
Also, Liptak has a pretty hefty endorsement as an expert on the court, he said.
"The New York Times is one of the preeminent national newspapers in the country, and they would not pick him as their Supreme Court reporter : without his being extremely qualified," Stein said.
Liptak said he hoped those who attend his talk leave with an improved understanding of the court's function.
"I hope they get a better sense of the role of the court in American life and how much it can affect their daily life," Liptak said.
The free seminar, "The Roberts Court in the Obama Era," is at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Strings Music Pavilion, Mount Werner Road and Pine Grove Road. Other speakers in this summer's series are former U.S. Rep. Phil Sharp, president of Resources for the Future; Paul Tagliabue, former National Football League commissioner; and Alice Rivlin, first director of the Congressional Budget Office and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.