Skip Navigation

A Supreme Fact-Check

How the Supreme Court gets U.S. history wrong

virtual event
  • Laura Edwards
  • ,
  • Kate Masur
  • ,
  • Karen Tani
  • Adam Serwer
Speaker headshots

The Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority has appealed to history to justify its recent opinions that have eviscerated reproductive freedom, gun control, and affirmative action. With its hard originalist turn, the Court has signaled that more such opinions are in store, making the past a battleground for the future of the Constitution. But should history be the sole source of rights? And what if the history that the Court has relied on is flat-out wrong?

The Court has placed the work of professional historians in the middle of a critical national conversation. And historians have a lot to say.

Join us online on Thursday, October 12, at 6 p.m. ET as leading historians dissect how history has been used and abused in consequential recent cases and expose the flawed thinking at the core of toxic originalism. Our guests will include historians Laura Edwards, Kate Masur, and Karen Tani. Moderator Adam Serwer will lead the panel as it sets the historical record straight, sketches out alternative views for how history can help us better understand the Constitution, and highlights issues to watch when the Court reconvenes this fall.

Produced in partnership with the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic


  • Laura Edwards, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty, Princeton University
  • Kate Masur, Board of Visitors Professor, Northwestern University
  • Karen Tani, Seaman Family University Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Moderator: Adam Serwer, Staff Writer, The Atlantic

Upcoming Events