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Sept. 12: "Anatomy of a Supreme Court Nomination: What we can learn from the battles over Miers and Alito"

The IU-Indy Law School and the Sagamore Institute present former Sen. Dan Coats's "sherpa's" perspective on the process of Supreme Court nomination and confirmation

When: Tuesday September 12, 5:00 talk; 6:00 PM reception

Where: IU-Indianapolis Law School, Wynne Courtroom

Like the Sherpas who help guide mountain-climbers to the top of the Himalayas, "Sherpas" in DC are the veteran politicos who guide Supreme Court nominees through the Senate to the black-robed summit. You have to be well-connected and diplomatic to be a Sherpa in DC. It's an informal title for an informal job, and no one can recall any insider being so thoroughly inside as to be chosen as Sherpa for two nominees ... until Dan Coats, who was in charge of guiding the confirmations of Harriet Miers (a debacle, but not his fault) and Samuel Alito (a successful ascent).

Dan Coats had a very successful and distinguished public career, serving in the US 1981-1989, and in the Senate 1989-1999. His career may have become even more interesting after he left the Senate. After narrowly missing being nominated as the Secretary of Defense in 2001 (the world would be a different place if he had been in the Pentagon the past six years rather than Donald Rumsfeld!), Coats took the post of US ambassador to Germany just days before 9/11. He thus had one of country's the most sensitive diplomatic positions, trying to hold alliances together through Afghanistan and Iraq. After leaving the embassy in 2005, he became senior counsel in the Public Policy and Government Advocacy Practice Group of the international law firm King & Spalding. He is also co-chair of the board of trustees of Sagamore Institute.

You might like to hear what Sen. Coats had to say about the nomination process during the heat of Alito's confirmation in this interview on NPR.

This event would be a great kick-off to most of the discussions that will start days later as part of My Daily Constitution. The insider's perspective Sen. Coats brings will be a fascinating counter-point to the view that ordinary people like you and me have on constitutional and political questions.

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