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The Brennan Center Jorde Symposium is an annual event created in 1996 to sponsor top scholarly discourse and writing on issues central to the legacy of Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.

2021–2022

Lecturer: Steven Levit­sky, Harvard Univer­sity, “The Third Found­ing: The Rise of Multiracial Demo­cracy and the Author­it­arian Reac­tion Against It”

Berke­­ley Law School and Yale Law School 

Steven Levit­sky

In the current Symposium cycle, Steven Levit­sky of Harvard Univer­sity reflects on the rise of multiracial demo­cracy in the United States and the author­it­arian reac­tion against it. He calls for a set of consti­tu­tional and elect­oral reforms to demo­crat­ize our demo­cracy and prevent entrenched rule by the minor­ity, draw­ing on lessons learned from the break­down of demo­cra­cies in Europe and Latin Amer­ica.

Bio: Steven Levit­sky is Professor of Govern­ment at Harvard Univer­sity. His research interests include polit­ical parties, author­it­ari­an­ism and demo­crat­iz­a­tion, and weak and informal insti­tu­tions, with a focus on Latin Amer­ica. He is the author (with Daniel Ziblatt) of How Demo­cra­cies Die (Crown, 2018).

Addi­tional parti­cipants:

  • Richard Albert, Univer­sity of Texas Law School
  • Miriam Seifter, Univer­sity of Wiscon­sin Law School
  • Tom Gins­burg, Univer­sity of Chicago Law School
  • Richard Pildes, NYU School of Law
  • Roberto Gargarella, National Research Coun­cil, CONICET, Argen­tina

Previ­ous Jorde Symposium events appear below in reverse chro­no­lo­­gical order.
 


2020–2021

Lecturer: Pamela Karlan, Stan­ford Law School, “The New Coun­ter­ma­jor­it­arian Diffi­culty”

Berke­­ley Law School and the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School 

Pamela Karlan of Stan­ford Law School explored the implic­a­tions of the Supreme Court’s retreat from rein­for­cing repres­ent­a­tion through judi­cial review at a time when demo­graphic changes are inter­act­ing with our consti­tu­tional struc­tures to threaten major­it­arian demo­cracy.

In part one of her lecture, Karlan discussed how profound changes in demo­graphy along with increased partisan and regional polar­iz­a­tion have created the condi­tions for coun­ter­ma­jor­it­arian entrench­ment. In part two, she looked at a set of struc­tural factors “hard-wired” into our consti­tu­tional system that facil­it­ates minor­ity rule, includ­ing the Elect­oral College and the guar­an­tee of equal suffrage in the Senate. In part three, Karlan reviewed recent Supreme Court decisions on voting rights and repres­ent­a­tion, which she char­ac­ter­ized as having “retreated from the propos­i­tion that restric­tions on voting rights should be subjec­ted to some form of heightened judi­cial skep­ti­cism.” These “demo­cracy-deplet­ing decisions,” she argued, “are a symp­tom, even more than a cause, of our present condi­tion.”

Bio: Pamela Karlan is the Kenneth and Harle Mont­gomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stan­ford Law School. Her areas of special­iz­a­tion include consti­tu­tional law, consti­tu­tional litig­a­tion, and the law of demo­cracy. Read her lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants:



2019–2020

Lecturer: Trevor Morrison, New York Univer­sity School of Law, “Consti­tu­tion by Conven­tion”

Berke­ley Law School and Yale Law School 

Dean Trevor Morrison of NYU School of Law explores the role of histor­ical prac­tice and estab­lished insti­tu­tional arrange­ments in setting consti­tu­tional doctrine related to the separ­a­tion of powers. Address­ing high-profile contro­ver­sies during the admin­is­tra­tion of Pres­id­ent Donald Trump related to the erosion of demo­cratic norms, Morrison focused on ques­tions that arise when courts are called upon to judge current govern­ment prac­tices against the back­drop of long­stand­ing insti­tu­tional settle­ments and histor­ical prac­tices. Do the courts have the capa­city to enforce histor­ical insti­tu­tional arrange­ments if the polit­ical branches are no longer will­ing to respect those arrange­ments them­selves? And how might the courts declare that certain govern­ment actions are ille­git­im­ate even though they might appear on their face to oper­ate within the bounds of those arrange­ments?

In a paper co-authored by his NYU colleague Professor Samuel Isaachar­off, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review, Morrison argued, “The current period of demo­cratic malaise may be thought of as a polit­ical stress test in which informal arrange­ments that served in other peri­ods are being chal­lenged to see if they may continue to serve.” There is a role for the courts, the authors argued, in “preserv[ing] the insti­tu­tional arrange­ments and prac­tices that have long sustained govern­ment until now, and to which we will need to recur when the polit­ical dysfunc­tion of the moment is over­come.”

Bio: Trevor Morrison is Dean of New York Univer­sity School of Law and the Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law. His research and teach­ing interests are in consti­tu­tional law (espe­cially separ­a­tion of powers and feder­al­ism), federal courts, and the law of the exec­ut­ive branch. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants:

Jorde Symposium Speakers

2019–2020

Lecturer: James Forman Jr., Yale Law School, “Lock­ing Up Our Own: Crime and Punish­ment in Black Amer­ica”   

Berke­ley Law School and NYU School of Law

James Forman Jr. NYU Jorde Symposium ©Kahn: Cour­tesy of NYU Photo Bureau

James Forman Jr. of Yale Law School drew on the lessons of his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Lock­ing Up Our Own: Crime and Punish­ment in Black Amer­ica (Macmil­lan, 2018), to consider what is needed now to build a power­ful move­ment to end mass incar­cer­a­tion. In the first half of his remarks, Forman reflec­ted on the reas­ons why a gener­a­tion of Black elec­ted offi­cials who won office after the adop­tion of the Voting Rights Act “over­whelm­ingly turn[ed] to law enforce­ment as the answer” to rising crime. To under­stand how this unfol­ded, he argued, it’s “crucial to look at the tiny decisions made by local offi­cials” – decisions he char­ac­ter­ized as “the indi­vidual bricks that have collect­ively built the prison nation that Amer­ica has become.” In the second half of his remarks, Forman offered some thoughts on how to dismantle mass incar­cer­a­tion today, identi­fy­ing four areas of engage­ment and mobil­iz­a­tion: voting and polit­ical parti­cip­a­tion, with an emphasis on low-profile school board and prosec­utors’ elec­tions, jury service, judi­cial appoint­ments, and public educa­tion. In clos­ing, Forman spoke of the need to face the daunt­ing chal­lenge of confront­ing mass incar­cer­a­tion with hope. “People are going to tell you that change is impossible,” he said. “But if you ignore them – if you stay true to your beliefs – then one day you will create the change you dreamed of.”

Bio: James Forman Jr. is J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He special­izes in crim­inal proced­ure, consti­tu­tional law, juven­ile justice, and educa­tion law and policy. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants:  

James Forman panel discussion Jorde Symposium ©Kahn: Cour­tesy of NYU Photo Bureau
Paul Butler, James Forman Jr., and Rachel Barkow

 


2017–2018 

Lecturer: Owen Fiss, “Equal­ity in a Frag­men­ted Soci­ety”

Berke­ley Law School and the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School

Owen Fiss of Yale Law School reflec­ted on a rare area of progress on racial equal­ity. His lecture focused on the 1971 Supreme Court case, Griggs v. Duke Power Company, which estab­lished the dispar­ate impact prin­ciple in employ­ment discrim­in­a­tion lawsuits. The Court later held, in its 1976 decision in Wash­ing­ton v. Davis, that the rule prohib­it­ing dispar­ate impact was not a consti­tu­tional rule, but rather a require­ment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But, as Fiss explained, “The Court’s decision to down­grade the Griggs Prin­ciple from Consti­tu­tion to stat­ute enlarged the power of Congress to super­vise the applic­a­tion and inter­pret­a­tion of dispar­ate impact doctrine.” Recall­ing how the prin­ciple was later codi­fied in the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and exten­ded to hous­ing cases in the 2015 case, Texas Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Community Affairs v. Inclus­ive Communit­ies Project, Inc., Fiss concluded his lecture by call­ing on the judi­cial branch to continue to apply the Griggs Prin­ciple to further the process of recon­struc­tion. 

Bio: Owen Fiss is a Ster­ling Professor Emer­itus of Law and Profess­or­ial Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. He special­izes in proced­ure, legal theory, and consti­tu­tional law. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2016–2017 

Lecturer: Heather Gerken, “Feder­al­ism 3.0”

Berke­ley Law School and NYU School of Law 

Heather Gerken at Jorde Symposium

Heather Gerken of Yale Law School delivered a lecture on twenty-first century feder­al­ism. In an histor­ical over­view begin­ning with the changed assump­tions about federal-state rela­tions embed­ded into consti­tu­tional theory in the wake of the New Deal (“Feder­al­ism 1.0”) and continu­ing through the discred­it­ing of “states’ rights” in the Civil Rights Era (“Feder­al­ism 2.0”), Gerken argued that consti­tu­tional theory about feder­al­ism is outdated. Feder­al­is­m’s “shared oper­at­ing system,” she conten­ded, can serve nation­al­ist ends. In her paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, she laid out a vision for “Feder­al­ism 3.0.,” what she called today’s feder­al­ism. “Our regu­lat­ory struc­tures and polit­ics are deeply inter­twined,” she wrote. “Neither the federal govern­ment nor the states preside over their own empire; instead, they regu­late shoulder-to-shoulder in a tight regu­lat­ory space, some­times lean­ing on one another and some­times delib­er­ately jost­ling each other. So, too, states are no longer enclaves that facil­it­ate retreats from national norms. Instead, they are the sites where those norms are forged.” 

Bio: Heather Gerken is the Dean and Sol & Lillian Gold­man Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She is an expert on consti­tu­tional law and elec­tion law. Read her lecture.         

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 

Heather Gerken at Jorde Symposium

2015–2016 

Lecturer: Justice Stephen Breyer, “The Court and the World: The Supreme Court’s New Transna­tional Role”

Berke­ley Law School and Yale Law School 

Justice Stephen Breyer explored the themes he developed in a recent book, The Court and the World: Amer­ican Law and the New Global Real­it­ies (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015). In an increas­ingly inter­con­nec­ted world, the Justice examined the many ways in which Amer­ican judges, when inter­pret­ing Amer­ican law, must take ever greater account of foreign events, law and prac­tices. He focused on four contexts in which the Supreme Court is increas­ingly called to act as a transna­tional court: disputes involving liberty and national secur­ity; main­tain­ing legal harmony in inter­na­tional commer­cial law; inter­pret­ing inter­na­tional treat­ies; and enga­ging with lawyers and judges from foreign coun­tries to promote the inter­change of substant­ive legal ideas and the advance­ment of the rule of law across the globe. 

Justice Stephen Breyer at Jorde Symposium

Bio: Stephen Breyer is an Asso­ci­ate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was appoin­ted by Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton in 1994. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 

Justice Stephen Breyer at Jorde Symposium at Yale

2014–2015 

Lecturer: Martha Minow, “Should Law Promote Forgive­ness?”

Berke­ley Law School and the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School

Martha Minow of Harvard Law School explored whether law should encour­age people to forgive one another. Is it desir­able to promote greater connec­tions between law, with its need for predict­ab­il­ity, and forgive­ness, with its depend­ence on emotions and moral judg­ments? Examin­ing the use of forgive­ness in disputes involving geno­cide, sover­eign debt, and child soldiers, Minow concluded that law can help enable forgive­ness while main­tain­ing fair­ness and justice – enhan­cing human rela­tion­ships without forgo­ing the account­ab­il­ity so import­ant to social order. In her paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, she offered sugges­tions for incor­por­at­ing forgive­ness into exist­ing domestic and inter­na­tional legal frame­works. 

Bio: Martha Minow is the 300th Anniversary Univer­sity Professor at Harvard Univer­sity. Her work focuses on privat­iz­a­tion, milit­ary justice, and ethnic and reli­gious conflict. Read “Forgive­ness, Law, and Justice.”

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2013–2014

Lecturer: Cass R. Sunstein, “Regu­lat­ory Agen­cies and Public Policy”  

Berke­ley Law School and NYU School of Law

Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein delivered a lecture on the diffi­culty of quan­ti­fy­ing bene­fits and costs in public policy. Regu­lat­ory agen­cies are gener­ally required to quantify both bene­fits and costs and to show that the former justify the latter. But agen­cies are also permit­ted to consider factors that are diffi­cult or impossible to quantify, such as human dignity and fair­ness. In his paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, Sunstein recom­men­ded that agen­cies engage in “break­even analysis” to determ­ine how high non-quan­ti­fi­able bene­fits would have to be in order to justify the costs. 

Bio: Cass R. Sunstein is the Robert Walms­ley Univer­sity Professor at Harvard Law School. He special­izes in consti­tu­tional, admin­is­trat­ive, and envir­on­mental law, as well as beha­vi­oral econom­ics. Read “The Limits of Quan­ti­fic­a­tion.”

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2012–2013 

Lecturer: Lawrence Lessig, “The Corrupt­ing Influ­ence of Money in Polit­ics”   

Berke­ley Law School

Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School delivered a lecture on the corrupt­ing influ­ence of money on poli­cy­mak­ing. Lessig explained that the concern is not corrup­tion in the tradi­tional crim­inal sense, but systemic corrup­tion. He described how Congress has become depend­ent upon a small hand­ful of donors who fund campaigns, creat­ing pres­sure to “bend”  poli­cy­mak­ing in ways that make fundrais­ing easier. Abuse of congres­sional rules—with donors’ interests in mind—­con­trib­utes to an “economy of no” in Wash­ing­ton. To strike at the root of this systemic corrup­tion, Lessig proposed citizen-funded elec­tions in the form of a publicly funded voucher system to incentiv­ize candid­ates to focus their appeals on citizens, not just wealthy donors. To encour­age Congress to act, Lessig called for a nonpar­tisan, exopol­it­ical move­ment free of the rhet­oric of class and polit­ical divide. 

Lawrence Lessig at Jorde Symposium

Bio: Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Lead­er­ship at Harvard Law School. He is also the founder of the organ­iz­a­tions Creat­ive Commons and Root­strikers. Read “What an Origin­al­ist Would Under­stand ‘Cor­rup­tion’ to Mean” and “A Reply to Profess­ors Cain and Charles.” 

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 

 


2011–2012

Lecturer: Diane P. Wood, “When to Hold, When to Fold, and When to Reshuffle: The Art of Decision-Making on a Multi-Member Court”

Berke­ley Law School and NYU School of Law 

Judge Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit delivered a lecture on judi­cial decision-making. She shared her unique perspect­ive on getting along and disagree­ing with colleagues on a multi-member appel­late bench. Judge Wood described the many reas­ons why appel­late judges write separ­ate concur­rences or dissents, and the good results that some­times result from this extra effort. She also iden­ti­fied the risks of part­ing with one’s colleagues to write separ­ately: the risk that one might become known as the “perpetual dissenter;” the risk that dissent might leave the public with the impres­sion that courts can be scary polit­ical insti­tu­tions, popu­lated by people with strong opin­ions and life­time tenure; and the risk of frayed inter­per­sonal rela­tions. 

Bio: Diane P. Wood is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She is also a Senior Lecturer in Law at the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School. Read her lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2010–2011 

Lecturer: Richard Posner, “The Rise and Fall of Judi­cial Self-Restraint"

Berke­ley Law Schoo­land the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School 

Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit delivered a lecture on the rise and fall of judi­cial self-restraint, tracing the history of a theory of judi­cial restraint developed by Harvard Law Professor James Brad­ley Thayer in 1893. The “School of Thayer” posited that judges should uphold stat­utes unless their uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ity was “… so clear that it is not open to rational ques­tion.” In his paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, Judge Posner argued that Thay­er’s approach flour­ished in the absence of a theory of how to decide a consti­tu­tional case, yield­ing to the rise of consti­tu­tional theor­ies that claimed to dispel doubt and yield certi­fi­ably right answers in all cases. 

Bio:  At the time of the symposium, Richard Posner was a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A former clerk for Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr., Judge Posner is now a Senior Lecturer at the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2009–2010

Lecturer: Richard H. Pildes, “Popu­lism, Parti­cip­a­tion, and the Extremes of Demo­cracy in Amer­ica”

Berke­ley Law School and Prin­ceton’s Woodrow Wilson School 

NYU Law Professor Richard H. Pildes delivered a lecture explor­ing the emer­gence of hyper­pol­ar­ized demo­cracy which, given the anti­ma­jor­it­arian features of Amer­ican demo­cracy, has led to legis­lat­ive grid­lock and para­lysis. In his paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, he argues,  “our radic­ally polar­ized polit­ics, and the absence of a center in Amer­ican demo­cracy today, reflect long-term struc­tural and histor­ical changes in Amer­ican demo­cracy that are likely to endure for some time to come.”

Bio: Richard H. Pildes is the Sudler Family Professor of Consti­tu­tional Law at NYU Law School. He special­izes in legal issues affect­ing demo­cracy. Read “Why the Center Does Not Hold: The Causes of Hyper­pol­ar­ized Demo­cracy in Amer­ica.”

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2008–2009

Lecturer: Martha Nuss­baum, “Same-Sex Marriage: The Polit­ics of Stigma”  

Stan­ford Law School and Univer­sity of Chicago

Univer­sity of Chicago Professor Martha Nuss­baum delivered a lecture on the right to marry, with a focus on the role of the state. In her paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, she wrote, “so long as the state is in the marry­ing busi­ness, concerns with equal­ity require it to offer marriage to same-sex couples—but … it would be a lot better, as a matter of both polit­ical theory and public policy, if the state with­drew from the marry­ing busi­ness, leav­ing the express­ive domain to reli­gions and to other private groups, and offer­ing civil unions to both same- and oppos­ite-sex couples.” But the prohib­i­tion of same-sex marriage, she concluded, is “an exclu­sion we can no longer toler­ate in a soci­ety pursu­ing equal respect and justice for all.”

Bio: Martha Nuss­baum is the Ernst Freund Distin­guished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the Univer­sity of Chicago where she is appoin­ted in the philo­sophy depart­ment and law school. She focuses on ancient Greek and Roman philo­sophy, polit­ical philo­sophy, femin­ism, and ethics. Read “A Right to Marry” and “Reply.”

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2007–2008 

Lecturer: Stephen Holmes, “Misun­der­stand­ing Trade-offs in the War on Terror”  

Berke­ley Law School and Yale Law School 

NYU Law Professor Stephen Holmes delivered a lecture on the funda­mental import­ance of abid­ing by rules during times of emer­gency, reflect­ing on prob­lems stem­ming from too much exec­ut­ive discre­tion follow­ing the terror­ist attacks of Septem­ber 11, 2001. Citing the exper­i­ence of emer­gency rooms, which minim­ize the risk of mistake through adher­ence to proto­cols drilled and prac­ticed in advance, Holmes explored how due process, consti­tu­tion­al­ism, and inter­na­tional law could ensure the prudent manage­ment of national emer­gen­cies. 

Bio: Stephen Holmes is the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law at NYU Law School. His research focuses on transna­tional terror­ism and the history of European liber­al­ism. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2006–2007

Tenth Anniversary Bren­nan Center Jorde Symposium: The Living Consti­tu­tion — A Symposium on the Legacy of Justice William J. Bren­nan Jr.

In Octo­ber 2006, the Bren­nan Center Jorde Symposium hosted The Living Consti­tu­tion: A Symposium on the legacy of Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr. The event marked the tenth anniversary of the Bren­nan Center for Justice, the fiftieth anniversary of Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr.’s appoint­ment to the Supreme Court, and the centen­nial of the Justice’s birth. In a lively discus­sion reflect­ing on Justice Bren­nan’s life and legacy, the symposium featured panels on free­dom of reli­gion and liberty and national secur­ity. Justice Ruth Bader Gins­burg delivered the clos­ing remarks, convey­ing “our shared admir­a­tion and affec­tion for a Justice who contrib­uted monu­ment­ally to the advance­ment of liberty and justice, equal and access­ible for all.”

Parti­cipants: 


2005–2006

Lecturer: Reva B. Siegel, “Consti­tu­tional Culture, Social Move­ment Conflict, and Consti­tu­tional Change: The Case of the de facto ERA”

Berke­ley Law School and Yale Law School

Yale Law School Professor Reva B. Siegel explored the inter­ac­tion between the courts and social move­ments in creat­ing consti­tu­tional mean­ing, with a look at how equal protec­tion doctrine prohib­it­ing sex discrim­in­a­tion was forged in the Equal Rights Amend­ment’s defeat. In her paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, Siegel observed, “Social move­ment conflict, enabled and constrained by consti­tu­tional culture, can create new forms of consti­tu­tional under­stand­ing—a dynamic that guides offi­cials inter­pret­ing the open-textured language of the Consti­tu­tion’s rights guar­an­tees.” 

Bio: Reva B. Siegel is the Nich­olas deB. Katzen­bach Professor of Law at Yale Law School where she focuses on the rela­tion­ship between law and inequal­ity. She also stud­ies inter­ac­tions between courts and popu­lar move­ments. Read her lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2003–2004 

Lecturer: Geof­frey R. Stone, “Free Speech in the Age of McCarthy: A Caution­ary Tale”

Univer­sity of Chicago Law School and Berke­ley Law School

Univer­sity of Chicago Law Professor Geof­frey R. Stone delivered a lecture on free speech on the 50th anniversary of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s censure by the U.S. Senate. Stone explored the contem­por­ary implic­a­tions of this history, offer­ing a “caution­ary tale” in the after­math of the terror­ist attacks of Septem­ber 11, 2001. “Just as hard cases make bad law,” he wrote, “hard times make bad judg­ments. It is our respons­ib­il­ity as citizens, lawyers, elec­ted offi­cials, and judges to resist those bad judg­ments, to main­tain a clear-eyed confid­ence in our national values, and to have the cour­age to support those values when our support matters. Justice Bren­nan would expect no less.”

Bio: Geof­frey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distin­guished Service Professor of Law at the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School, special­iz­ing in First Amend­ment law. Stone clerked for Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2002–2003

Lecturer: Larry D. Kramer, “Popu­lar Consti­tu­tion­al­ism: Then and Now”  

Berke­ley Law School and the Univer­sity of Michigan Law School

NYU Law Professor Larry D. Kramer delivered a lecture on popu­lar consti­tu­tion­al­ism and judi­cial power. In his paper, published in the Cali­for­nia Law Review’s Symposium Edition, Kramer wrote, “Some­how, Amer­ic­ans have been paci­fied, lulled into believ­ing that the mean­ing of their Consti­tu­tion is some­thing beyond their compass, some­thing that should be left to others.” He argued that the Amer­ican people must insist on our right to control the mean­ing of the Consti­tu­tion by choos­ing popu­lar consti­tu­tion­al­ism over judi­cial suprem­acy. 

Bio: At the time of the symposium, Larry D. Kramer was the Asso­ci­ate Dean for Research at NYU School of Law. He is now pres­id­ent of the William and Flora Hewlett Found­a­tion. A former clerk to Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr., Kramer is a scholar of consti­tu­tional law and civil proced­ure. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2001–2002

Lecturer: Bruce Acker­man, “Voting with Dollars: A New Paradigm for Campaign Finance”

Yale Law School and Berke­ley Law School 

Yale Law Professor Bruce Acker­man delivered a lecture on a new approach to campaign finance. Under his plan, the govern­ment would provide voters 50 “patriot dollars” to give to their favor­ite candid­ates or polit­ical organ­iz­a­tions. To guard against the buying of polit­ical influ­ence, dona­tions under this system would be made anonym­ously. Acker­man outlined the features and bene­fits of this plan and laid out a model stat­ute for its adop­tion.

Bio: Bruce Acker­man is Ster­ling Professor of Law and Polit­ical Science at Yale Law School. He special­izes in consti­tu­tional law. Read “The New Paradigm Revis­ited” (co-authored with Ian Ayres).

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


2000–2001

Lecturer: Kath­leen Sullli­van, “Consti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing Women’s Equal­ity”

Berke­ley Law School and NYU School of Law

Stan­ford Law School Dean Kath­leen Sulli­van reflec­ted on the struggle to advance women’s equal­ity under a Consti­tu­tion that offers no such guar­an­tee. She wrote, “The Amer­ican approach of consti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing women’s equal­ity from a minimal text that is general, broad, vague and stand­ard-like, however, plainly alloc­ates consid­er­able discre­tion to its inter­pret­ers. Its effic­acy in advan­cing actual equal­ity there­fore depends upon having women or their allies in the room doing the inter­pret­ing.” 

Bio: At the time of the symposium, Kath­leen Sulli­van was the Dean of Stan­ford Law School. She is now a part­ner at the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sulli­van. Read her lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


1999–2000 

Lecturer: Lee Bollinger, “The Mission of Public Cultural Insti­tu­tions”  

Berke­ley Law School and the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School

Bio: At the time of the symposium, Lee Bollinger was the pres­id­ent of the Univer­sity of Michigan. He is now the pres­id­ent of Columbia Univer­sity.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 

  • David A. Hollinger, Univer­sity of Cali­for­nia, Berke­ley 
  • Michael S. Roth, The Getty Research Insti­tute 
  • Sanford Levin­son, Univer­sity of Texas Law School
  • Geof­frey R. Stone, Univer­sity of Chicago Law School

1998–1999

Lecturer: Robert Post, “Preju­di­cial Appear­ances: The Logic of Amer­ican Anti­discrim­in­a­tion Law”

Berke­ley Law School and the Univer­sity of Miami

Berke­ley Law Professor Robert Post argued that modern Amer­ican anti­discrim­in­a­tion law should not be conceived as protect­ing the tran­scend­ental dignity of indi­vidual persons but instead as trans­form­ing social prac­tices that define and sustain poten­tially oppress­ive categor­ies like race or gender. He argued that anti­discrim­in­a­tion law would be greatly advanced by deploy­ing soci­olo­gical under­stand­ings in ways that “strike at the entire spec­trum of dispar­ate treat­ment,” render­ing the law more effect­ive and just.

Bio: At the time of the symposium, Robert Post was a professor at Berke­ley Law School. He is now a Ster­ling Professor of Law at Yale Law School, where he special­izes in consti­tu­tional law and the First Amend­ment. Post also served as clerk to Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


1997–1998

Lecturer: Stephen Carter, “Reli­gious Free­dom as if Reli­gion Matters: A Trib­ute to Justice Bren­nan”

Berke­ley Law School and Geor­getown Univer­sity Law Center

Yale Law Professor Stephen Carter discussed the complex­it­ies inher­ent in the consti­tu­tional right to reli­gious free­dom. Carter wrote, “Perhaps it is an error for reli­gion­ists to conceive of the worship of God as a right because, in so doing, they reduce it to a thing that one needs a right in order to do. And that reduc­tion is poten­tially deadly to genu­ine free­dom of reli­gion.” In his view, reli­gious free­dom is not a theory about reli­gion, but rather one about the needs of the state. 

Bio: Stephen Carter is the William Nelson Crom­well Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He teaches a wide range of courses includ­ing the Ethics of War and Law and Reli­gion. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: 


1996–1997

Lecturer: Frank Michel­man, “Bren­nan and Demo­cracy”

Berke­ley Law School and NYU School of Law

Harvard Law School Professor Frank Michel­man explored the inher­ent tensions of a demo­cratic system where key policy issues are decided not by the people’s elec­ted repres­ent­at­ives but by elec­ted judges. He asked whether we can embrace the values of demo­cracy together with consti­tu­tion­al­ism, judi­cial super­vi­sion, and the rule of law. Michel­man, a former clerk of Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr., drew on Bren­nan’s writ­ings and record to suggest how he might have under­stood the judi­ciary’s role in promot­ing both demo­cratic and consti­tu­tional govern­ment. 

Bio: Frank Michel­man is the Robert Walms­ley Univer­sity Professor Emer­itus at Harvard Law School. A former clerk to Justice William J. Bren­nan, Jr. Michel­man special­izes in consti­tu­tional law, legal theory, and prop­erty law. Read his lecture.

Addi­tional parti­cipants: