Our Democratic Constitution: A Brennan Center Workshop
The Brennan Center for Justice presents:
Our Democratic Constitution
A Brennan Center Workshop
Thursday, June 2, 2016
12:00pm – 2:00pm
12:00pm Registration and Lunch
12:30 pm Program
New York University School of Law
108 West 3rd Street
(between Sullivan St. and Macdougal St.)
New York, NY 10012
Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto
D. Lurton Massie Professor of Law, University of Virginia
Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties, NYU School of Law
Founding Legal Director, Brennan Center for Justice
Jurisprudence Fellow, Brennan Center for Justice
Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice
The 100 biggest donors of 2016 cycle have spent $195 million trying to influence the presidential election – more than the $155 million spent by the two million smallest donors combined. When election day arrives this fall, citizens in 17 states will face new challenges to voting, including strict photo ID requirements, cut backs on early voting, and limits on registration. Even Americans who are able to vote face challenges in making themselves heard. Partisan gerrymandering has stacked the deck against under-represented minority communities and entrenched the people and parties already in power. And recent political science research demonstrates that federal government policy closely aligns with the preferences of the wealthiest 1% of Americans, to the exclusion of the vast majority of Americans.
How did our democracy become so broken – and what can we do to fix it? As Professor Burt Neuborne explains in his recent book, Madison’s Music, our current system is the result of fifty years of decisions by Supreme Court justices who have “shaped the quality of American democracy without once asking what kind of democracy they were building.” We are paying the price for the Court’s failure to consider the health of our democracy in its constitutional decision-making.
On June 2, 2016, the Brennan Center will hold a workshop with four leading election law experts to explore paths towards reinvigorating a “democracy-friendly” Constitution. With the goal of promoting creative and practical thinking, we are inviting a diverse group of advocates, activists, and academics to discuss these critically important issues.