Charles Burson—a former Tennessee attorney general who served as counsel and chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore from 1997-2001—will teach a new one-hour course during the spring 2009 semester at the LSU Law Center, “The Supreme Court and Presidential Elections.”
The course uses Bush v. Gore as the platform for exploring the still unsettled role of the U.S. Supreme Court in Presidential elections, but also makes broader inquiries into equal protection, the political question doctrine, Federalism and Article II of the U.S. Constitution. In seeking the legacy, if any, of Bush v. Gore, the course will explore the role of the Supreme Court as an institution and the unintended consequences of the Court’s addressing these issues.
Burson is currently a visiting professor at the Washington University School of Law and of counsel to Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis. From 2001- 2006, Burson served as executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Monsanto Corporation. Before working in the White House, he served as Attorney General of Tennessee from 1988-1997. He was also president of the National Association of Attorneys General.
As Attorney General of Tennessee, Burson argued four cases before the United States Supreme Court, including Burson v. Freeman, which established a state’s ability to regulate political advertising on election day.
“We are extremely fortunate that someone with Charles Burson’s first-hand perspective and experience will teach constitutional election law to our students,” LSU Law Chancellor Jack Weiss said.
“Professor Burson brings a uniquely broad range of experience to LSU Law,” Weiss said. “He has served at the highest levels of both state and federal government, engaged in private practice for many years, and recently served as the chief legal officer of a major corporation.”
Burson received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Michigan in 1966. He is a 1970 graduate of Harvard Law School and received a master of arts degree from Cambridge University in 1968.