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Seminar Tackles SCOTUS Vacancy

by Public Relations Staff

When the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February, it set off a media firestorm that left many wondering how a vacancy on the nation’s highest court should be handled in an election year. 

In order to help educate people on this complex issue, Cedarville University’s Department of History and Government will host a special lecture from Matthew Martens, partner at WilmerHale law firm, on Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m. in the Engineering and Science Center Room 245.

Martens, who clerked early in his career for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, will present a lecture titled “Justice Scalia, Originalism, and the Bible.” In addition, Martens will also speak in Cedarville’s chapel service at 10 a.m. on the same day. Both events are free and open to the public.

“As someone who served as a clerk on the Supreme Court and rubbed shoulders with Justice Scalia, Matthew Martens will be able to provide an insider’s perspective on Scalia, and the legacy he left on American jurisprudence,” said Thomas Mach, Ph.D., professor of history and chair of the department of history and government.

A 1993 graduate of Cedarville, Martens earned his law degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  After law school, Martens was a law clerk for the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Supreme Court.

He has also served as an assistant U.S. attorney general and deputy criminal chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During his career as a federal prosecutor, he worked on several high-profile cases as chief litigation counsel for the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where he received the 2012 SEC Chairman’s Award for Excellence. 

During his tenure at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Martens served as lead or co-lead counsel in 14 jury trials and briefed, and argued, nearly a dozen federal appeals. He has also written op-ed pieces for several publications, including the Wall Street Journal.

“Scalia understood the Constitution as our nation's founding document and used it as a legal basis for interpreting the law,” said Mach. “This presentation on Justice Scalia's position is sure to be instructive as we consider this important debate."

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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