Washington Post reporter Robert Barnes speaks on “The Politicalization of the Supreme Court”

Washington Post reporter and editor Robert Barnes delivered the Nichols Foundation Prominent Speaker Lecture at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, on April 1. He spoke to an audience of more than 100 law students, professors and staff at Stetson on the topic of “The Politicalization of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Barnes has reported for the Post since 1987, covering beats ranging from national politics to the Supreme Court.

Robert Barnes spoke at Stetson on April 1. Photo by SeanCarlo Lopez.

Robert Barnes spoke at Stetson on April 1. Photo by SeanCarlo Lopez.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Veterans Law Institute Michael P. Allen introduced Barnes.

Barnes’ talk focused on the impact of the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and Washington politics regarding the recent nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The addition of a new justice creates an entirely new body,” said Barnes. “The same can be said of the loss.”

Barnes discussed the makeup of the Court after the death of Justice Scalia and the possibility of dramatic impacts to the Court in the cases that it accepts and hears as well as shifts in the Court’s style and jurisprudence.

Barnes has been a Washington Post reporter and editor since 1987. He has covered political reporting since 2005 and the Supreme Court since November 2006. Barnes joined the Post to cover politics and has served in a variety of roles including national political editor, deputy national editor in charge of domestic coverage including the Supreme Court, and metropolitan editor.

“It’s good to be back in my home state, especially Pinellas County where I met my wife at the Clearwater Sun,” said Barnes.

A native of Pensacola, Florida, before joining the Washington Post, Barnes worked for the now-defunct Clearwater Sun, the Associated Press and the St. Petersburg Times (now renamed the Tampa Bay Times). Barnes gave up plans for law school for a life in newspapers after discovering journalism at the University of Florida.

The Nichols Foundation Prominent Speaker Series was established in 1995 to enrich academic life at Stetson. The series’ namesake is Perry Nichols, among the nation’s most successful trial lawyers and past president of both the American Trial Lawyers Association and International Trial Lawyers Association. Previous lecturers include prominent business leaders, government officials, legal scholars and practitioners.