Discover dynamic education programs and curriculum resources about the history of our city, state, and nation.

Institute for Constitutional History

Education Mission

The New-York Historical Society Education Division provides dynamic programming and curriculum resources for students and teachers in New York and beyond. Historical study sparks curiosity and creativity, promotes cultural understanding, and fosters an empowered citizenry to strengthen our democracy. Our staff of passionate professionals draws on our world-renowned collections to engage learners of all ages in the study of our collective past.


Education programs made possible through endowments established by:
National Endowment for the Humanities
The Hearst Foundations
The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation

Public funding provided by:
Institute for Museum and Library Services
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

Important support provided by:
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Ford Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Altman Foundation
Deutsche Bank
The Pinkerton Foundation
Barker Welfare Foundation
The Keith Haring Foundation
The Bay and Paul Foundations
The Alice Lawrence Foundation
The Henry Nias Foundation
Fred and Joan Pittman


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Past Events

Legal Thought in an Age of Fracture (NYC Seminar)
Friday afternoons, September 7, 21, October 5, 19, 2018

The idea of “the common good” and the reality of “America” with their call to fulfill duties of sacrifice and common purpose seemed to dissolve with the end of the Cold War. All these tendencies have made themselves felt in law, including Constitutional law—among other places in the battles over racial integration and affirmative action; gay rights and abortion; the role of the state in public choice theory and movements toward deregulation; state policies favoring voucher and charter schools; speech codes and curricula in universities; criminal justice policy; intellectual movements in the legal academy; and debates over the meaning of history in the Supreme Court. Led by Robert W. Gordon and Daniel T. Rodgers at the New-York Historical Society, this workshop draws from legal sources—cases, speeches, policy statements, and academic articles—illustrating facets of the Age of Fracture, each tied to a different chapter in Rodgers’ book, Age of Fracture.  

Antislavery Constitutionalism (D.C. seminar)
Thursday nights, September 6, 20, October 4, 18, November 1, 15, 2018
Sooner or later every major political dispute becomes a dispute over the Constitution.  This is as true today for issues such as abortion rights, gun control, and the war powers of the president. Nowhere did the Constitution figure more prominently than in the increasingly rancorous debates over slavery. Indeed, what the Constitution did or did not allow the federal government to do about slavery was present at the creation of the Constitution in the Philadelphia convention of 1787. For decades scholars have investigated the proslavery compromises embedded within the Constitution, but much less attention has been paid to antislavery constitutionalism. This was a body of thought that carefully specified what the federal government could and could not do to put slavery on what Abraham Lincoln called a “course of ultimate extinction.” Led by James Oakes, this workshop takes place at the George Washington University Law School.

The Constitutional History of Anglo-American Empire (Standford, CA Seminar)
July 8-13, 2018
Building on the literatures on constitutional development in the British Empire, the constitutional origins of the American Revolution, and settler constitutionalism, the seminar will focus on colonization and territorial expansion, the law of slavery, and geopolitics from first settlement to the era of “Manifest Destiny.” The workshop will be led by Annette Gordon-Reed, the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, and Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia.

William Howard Taft and Charles Evans Hughes; the Travails and Contradictions of Progressivism within the Law: 1908-1941 (NYC Seminar)
Fridays, 2-5 pmFebruary 9 and 23, and March 9 and 23, 2018
Between them, William Howard Taft and Charles Evan Hughes served as Governor (Hughes), Governor General (Taft); Circuit Court Judge (Taft), Secretary of War (Taft), President (Taft), Supreme Court Justice (Hughes), Nominee for the Presidency (Hughes), Secretary of State (Hughes), Chief Justice (Taft), Chief Justice (Hughes), and this list is not complete. It indicates, however, the impressive scope of their accomplishments. How had progressivism been transformed during their careers? To what extent were both jurists “independent of rigid ideology?” This seminar seeks to explore these questions through books, articles, and discussion.

Free Press (D.C. seminar)
Tuesday nights, 6:00–8:00 p.m., September 12, 19, October 17, 24, November 14, and 21, 2017
Historically, the American press has been among the freest in the world—but that freedom has been repeatedly challenged. In 2017, with a President who has repeatedly questioned the very legitimacy of the news media, “the freedom of the press” is likely to be once again in the midst of crisis. This seminar will offer a grounding in the classical ideas and law of press freedom, with an eye toward applying these ideas to the challenges of 21st Century media technology and political change.

Mothers and the Constitution (NYC seminar)
Fridays, 2:00–5:00 p.m., October 6, October 13, November 3, and November 10
The seminar will explore the relationship between the changing practice of motherhood and the law.  Using Supreme Court cases, important state cases, and supplementary historical and statutory materials we will study the many ways that constitutional interpretation and government policy have regulated the lives of different kinds of mothers and occasionally of fathers too. We will organize our discussions around four key issues: Custody and Care, Reproduction, Work, and State Support, focusing on the twentieth century; and taking into account the influence of such factors as race, religion, migration, and sexuality on developing constitutional interpretation. 

The Lochner Era (Stanford, CA summer seminar)
July 9-14, 2017
This seminar will examine major developments in the areas of constitutional law governing social and economic regulation in the so-called "Lochner Era," extending roughly from 1880 to 1940. The topics considered will include limitations placed upon state and federal regulatory authority by the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Equal Protection Clause, the Tenth Amendment, and the Dormant Commerce Clause, as well as restrictions on and changes in the scope of the federal powers to tax, to spend, and to regulate interstate commerce. Our aim will be to understand how these limitations and developments presented both obstacles and opportunities to regulatory reformers, how they constrained and shaped their legal strategies, and why they succeeded or failed in securing their regulatory objectives. Attention also will be given to the ways in which these developments have been understood and presented by historians, political scientists, and legal scholars; to the role that the period’s jurisprudence played in shaping labor, housing, and educational markets for women and racial minorities; and to the relationship between that period’s jurisprudence and the law and political economy of our own time. The assigned readings will include Supreme Court decisions of the period and secondary works that focus on specific topics within the period.

Democratic Constitutionalism
January 13, 27, February 17, 24, November 7, and 21, 2017
The seminar explored the relationship between judicial review and constitutional interpretation outside the courts. It studied how those in Congress and the Executive Branch, as well as citizens in political parties and social movements, make claims on the Constitution. Using case histories involving civil rights, gun rights, abortion, same-sex marriage, and religion, we examined the roles that political mobilization and conflict play in the development of constitutional meaning inside and outside of courts.

Dissent and the Supreme Court
September 12, 26, October 10, 24, November 7, and 21, 2016
A dissent on the nation’s highest court may be no more than an angry reaction to the majority or frustration that the rest of the court does not share the dissenter’s views. But in some cases the dissent is more than disagreement; it is part of a constitutional dialogue that may affect the immediate case or take years before the dissenting argument is accepted by the Court. It took more than 20 years before Hugo L. Black’s dissent in Betts v. Brady (1942) became accepted in Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), but in every Sixth Amendment case that came up, the justices had to speak to the argument Black had made. In this seminar, we will look at the conversations that dissenters have with other members of the Court, the other branches of government, and the public, and examine in depth some of the iconic dissents.

Thomas Jefferson's Democratic Constitutionalism 
September 30, October 14, 21, and November 11, 2016
This seminar will survey Thomas Jefferson’s career as a lawyer, statesman, and political and constitutional theorist. We will explore Jefferson’s thoughts about provincial and state as well as imperial and federal constitutions, with a particular focus on his evolving conceptions of natural rights and justice, citizenship, property rights, and slavery. Assigned readings in primary documents will illuminate his collaboration and quarrels with fellow founders, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall; selected secondary sources will introduce participants to the legal and constitutional history of the Early American Republic.

The Reconstruction Amendments: Freedom, Eqaulity, and the American Consitution
Sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional History with the Stanford Constitutional Law Center
July 10-15, 2016
Constitutional scholars regard the Reconstruction Amendments -- the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth -- as constituting the American republic’s third Constitution, the first being the failed Articles of Confederation (1781-1789), the document of 1787 as amended by the Bill of Rights the second. Each was a constitutive moment, creating a new nation on a constitutional footing different from the preceding regime. The Reconstruction Amendments potentially transformed the state-centered constitutional federal order of 1789-1861, resting as it did on slavery and dominated by slaveholding interests, into a national republic premised on universal freedom and the equality of all people. They abolished slavery, added new securities for personal liberty, and empowered the national Congress to enforce those innovations, while securing the freedom, status, dignity, and rights of the freed people. The ensuing century-and-a-half of constitutional development saw some of those aims partially achieved, but the promise of the Amendments remains unfulfilled today. Our initial focus will be on the origins and creation of the Amendments, and their development through the first Reconstruction, the counterrevolutionary resistance that imposed White Supremacy, and the struggles of the long civil rights movement of the twentieth century to realize the promise of the Amendments. But we will study the impact of the Amendments on non-racial matters as well.

Capital as a Constitutional Issue: Land and Money, 1776 –1900
March 18, April 1, 15, and 29
This seminar explores a category, capital, that is often treated as a given—wealth accumulated or money amassed and seamlessly reinvested. But the shape and character of capital have been at the center of constitutional debate throughout American history. We focus in particular on land and money, critical to state formation and capitalist development in the U.S. from the Revolutionary era to the Gilded Age. The contests to define or control each expose competing sovereignties (Native American, imperial, settler; state and federal) before and long after ratification of the Constitution. Those contests have also informed the development of political ideologies, party formation, and modes of constitutional interpretation, as well as the architecture of governmental authority.

Religion and the Constitution
July 12–17, 2015
This seminar will combine discussion of works-in-progress by the participants (on a variety of subjects) with a focused set of conversations about religion in the American Republic. We will examine the relation between the principles of religious freedom embodied in the First Amendment to the Constitution and the growth of the spiritually active, multi-denominational, and religiously tolerant culture that distinguishes the United States from most other societies. Seminar readings will follow a historical arc. We will begin with the emergence of practices of toleration in early modern Europe and the birth of a commitment to the free exercise of religion as a natural right in 18th-century America. After that we will examine the developing law of religion in 19th- and 20th-century America before concluding with the debates over religious accommodation that have become so controversial over the past few years. The relationship of history, law, and culture will be a subject of recurring interest.

The Pre and Post-1865 Constitution
September 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2015
This course explores the extent to which the post-Civil War Amendments made fundamental changes in the American constitutional order. Abraham Lincoln in 1863 promised “a new birth of freedom.” Many contemporary scholars believed the post-Civil War Constitution was designed to achieve that new birth of freedom by radically changing the basic design and commitments of the American constitutional order. Conservatives in 1865, however, spoke of that “Constitution as it was,” minus slavery. The Supreme Court championed this view in The Slaughter-House Cases (1873). The debate is hardly academic. As the opinions in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) demonstrate, basic contemporary regime commitments depend to a fair degree on the extent of constitutional change during the Civil War and Reconstruction. We will explore this issue by examining primary and secondary sources. The first third of the course will explore the basic commitments of the constitutional regime established in 1787 through a close reading of crucial Federalist Papers and major selections from other Federalist and anti-Federalist writings. The second third of the course will examine the basic commitments of the constitutional regime Republicans hoped to establish in 1865 through a close reading of the debates over the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as such measures as the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Second Freedman’s Bureau Act. The last third of the course will look at some prominent claims that the constitutional regime was fundamentally altered during the Civil War and Reconstruction. 

Reform, Reaction, and Constitutionalism in Twenieth-Century America
October 2, 9, 16, 23, November 6, 13, 2015
This seminar will selectively study progressive reform efforts in America between 1920 and 1980—both their successes and their failures. The first session will focus on the 1920s, when reformers and conservatives conceived of reform in terms of class conflict carried out mainly in the political process; in that decade, reformers enjoyed almost no success in altering the nation's law. The second session will turn to the New Deal and will focus particularly on the issue of how much redistributive change the New Deal actually achieved prior to 1938. The third and fourth sessions will study the period from 1938 to 1968, when reformers turned to the courts and the constitution in a fight to achieve ethnic and religious equality, and the children of turn-of-the-century Catholic and Jewish immigrants entered the nation's socio-economic mainstream. The third session will focus on the impact of World War II on the nation's socio-economic structure; the fourth will turn to the Cold War. The two final sessions, still focusing on law and the constitution, will turn to the years since 1968, when equality was reconceptualized in terms of race and gender, with the fifth session examining race and the sixth, gender. Our hypothesis will be that only marginal change has again occurred. A key question throughout the seminar will be why ethnic and religious conceptions of equality succeeded in transforming law for ethnic white men, while other progressive conceptions in large part failed.

How Slavery Killed the Constitution in 1787  
February 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2015
Several large and small unknowns were rooted in the Constitution of l787 as it emerged from the hands of the framers and ratifiers. Chief among them were: (1) the structure of power as between the new national government and the states, (2) the place of slavery in the new constitutional arrangement, and (3) the location of the final interpretative authority with regard to the first two unknowns: whether in the Supreme Court of the United States; or in the state courts; or in specially elected state conventions; or in the will of the national electorate operating through the evolving new political party system; or, finally, in the god of battles?

In addition to acquainting participants with useful scholarship and relevant primary sources, this seminar’s objective is to trace the working-out of these constitutional uncertainties in the period leading to secession and Civil War--the period during which pro-slavery forces and state sovereignty theory converged to challenge the authority of the federal government. We also will explore the possibility that the slavery issue, almost from the outset of government under the Constitution of 1787, permeated every major aspect of constitutional law--making the antebellum period a distinct epoch in American constitutional history, one that ended with the Union victory and with the Civil War Amendments.

The Sixth Annual Capital City Constitution Day Program featured a conversation about women and the Constitution with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Maeva Marcus. The program was presented by the Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource), The Institute for Constitutional History at The New-York Historical Society, and The George Washington University School of Law. Fifteen hundred people attended and the program was webcast live.

The Jordan Saunders Seminar in Constitutional History for advanced graduate students and junior faculty
September 19, 26, October 10 and 24, 2014
Sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional History

The abolition of slavery and the advent of humanitarian limits in war have long been viewed as two of the great moral accomplishments of modern history. But we are only recently beginning to see how interconnected these two developments really were. How did Enlightenment laws of war affect the way Americans dealt with slavery in wartime? Or is that the wrong question? Should we ask, instead: How did the way Americans dealt with slavery and emancipation in wartime shape their understanding of the laws of war? Do the successes of antislavery help us understand the character of humanitarian constraints in war? And do the considerable failings of those humanitarian constraints in wartime shed light on the limits of Emancipation? Readings and discussions take up these questions by examining early American wars, beginning with the War of Independence and ending with the Civil War and Reconstruction.

The Jordan Saunders Seminar in Constitutional History Interdisciplinary Summer Workshop
July 13-18, 2014
In judicial opinions, oral advocacy and briefs arguing cases before courts, and in articles and treatises, lawyers use history to connect the past to the present, to show how law and society have evolved from past enactments or cases to the present day. Sometimes these histories are explicit, such as those exploring "original" public meanings of constitutional text, sometimes implicit stories of changing interpretations and social circumstances. This seminar will examine selected fragments of such embedded histories in several areas of constitutional law, including (tentatively): the history of the "ancient [English] constitution" in the legal arguments of American revolutionaries; the history of regulation in constitutional arguments over the police power; the history of the right to bear arms in arguments over the Second Amendment; the history of racial segregation in recent arguments over civil rights; and the history of church-state separation in arguments over the religion clauses.

February 7, 14, and 21, and 28, 2014
The ideas denoted by the term "federalism" have been central to the American constitutional order, and federalism as a political form plays an increasingly important role around the world. This seminar will focus on the United States constitutional experiences with federalism, a term not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but one that has, since the second half of the twentieth-century, become frequently invoked in constitutional discourse. Federalism is proffered as an explanation when justices approach questions of whether to override congressional judgments about the deployment of national powers or to preclude states from regulating particular arenas. Beneath the mix of interpretations of the Constitution and the sometimes dry discussions of jurisdictional rules and doctrines of comity lie conflicts about equality, immigration, criminal procedure, regulation of the economy, protections to be accorded workers and consumers, and the authority of states, Indian tribes, and localities. These will be the subjects of discussion at the seminar.

October 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20, 2013
The six-week seminar concerns the evolution of the distribution of war powers from the beginning of the Twentieth Century to the present day. The Founders endeavored to create a federal system in which a separation and blending of powers would make the legislature the preeminent source of military authority and thus prevent the executive from unilaterally entangling the nation in costly belligerent adventures. Conventional wisdom has it that practical developments over the past 100 years—most significantly, the creation of a powerful standing army and intelligence establishment, the development of nuclear weapons, and the emergence of a much more robust role for the United States as a superpower responsible for the defense of Europe and other allies in a post-nuclear age—have rendered the original constitutional design obsolete, such that Congress and the courts have largely ceded war-making authority to an all-powerful, virtually unchecked President. In this interdisciplinary course, using conventional legal materials as well as recent historical and political science accounts of the distribution of war powers, we will examine whether and to what extent this conventional account is accurate, and will more broadly discuss whether the current balance of powers ensures sufficient checks on misguided adventurism and abuse of individual liberties.

September 12, 19, October 3, 10, 24, and November 7, 2013
The United States Constitution was drafted at least in part under the sway of particular conceptions of government and politics (putting entirely to one side the role that out-and-out political bargaining played at the Philadelphia Convention). This seminar will examine some of these central assumptions, particularly concerning the nature of what the Constitution itself calls a “Republican Form of Government” and ask to what degree we—or, more accurately, you as students within the seminar—agree in 2013 with the assumption set out, often with both candor and eloquence, in 1787–88. Course materials will be drawn almost entirely from primary sources, including materials collected in Philip Kurland and Ralph Lerner, eds., THE FOUNDERS’ CONSTITUTION and The Federalist, though it is also likely that Professor Levinson’s recent book Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance will also be assigned. Reading will not be particularly heavy in quantity, but the assumption is that what is assigned will be read and then discussed quite intensely.

Summer Research Seminar at Stanford Law School
July 7–13, 2013
The notion that private freedoms are constituted and structured through legal rules, and especially constitutional decisions, is conventional wisdom. But how have the boundaries between public and private been negotiated in constitutional controversies? How have understandings of private selves and private institutions and private rights changed as they confronted or engaged with the demands of constitutional law? We are interested in studies across American history and across the full range of potential intersection: “new” and “old” property, public lands and private resources, charters and franchises and corporations, regulation of wealth and health and sex and family, regulation versus outsourcing, public schools versus charter schools, taxes versus regulation, as well as the full range of civil liberties articulated across American constitutional history. We are also interested in hearing about work that attempts to articulate what it means to describe an American constitutional order as distinctively (or indistinctly) capitalistic.

Tuesday afternoons, 4–6 pm, February 12, 19, and 26, March 5, 12, and 19, 2013. 
This six-week seminar will examine the influence of two men—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Louis Dembitz Brandeis—on American constitutional development from 1902 to 1939. Although the phrase “Holmes and Brandeis dissenting” led many people to believe that they shared a common jurisprudential philosophy, the differences between them are as important as the areas in which they agreed. We will look at the biographies of the two men, the classical legal thought that dominated the Court throughout most of this period, the important cases in which they wrote—mainly in dissent—and the influence of those opinions on subsequent cases.

Thursday evenings, 6–8 pm, January 10, 17, 24, and 31, February 7, and 14, 2013. 
Barry Cushman is the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law and Concurrent Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Before coming to Notre Dame in 2012 he served for fifteen years on the faculty of the University of Virginia, where he was the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History. He has published widely on the subjects of constitutional law, political economy, and social reform during the Progressive Era and the New Deal. His book, Rethinking the New Deal Court: The Structure of a Constitutional Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1998) was awarded the American Historical Association’s Littleton-Griswold Prize in American Law and Society.

September 13, 20, 27, October 4, 25, and Nov 1, 2012
This seminar explores the origins of American constitutionalism from 1776 through 1801, the years of Revolution to the election of Thomas Jefferson. We will explore the problem of union: empire and federal republic, the ratification debates and the development of political parties, slavery and freedom, state building, geopolitics and foreign affairs, and the Revolution of 1800. The assigned readings will consist of secondary works--some that provide an overview of the period under consideration and others that focus on specific topics and themes. We will also consider critical primary documents from that time including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, The Northwest Ordinance, and Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address.

Born in the USA: The Politics of Birthright Citizenship in Historical Perspective
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
March 29-30, 2012
Sponsored by: Institute for Constitutional History at The New-York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School; University of Maryland Francis Cary King Law School; University of Maryland, The College of Arts and Humanities; The Center for the History of the New America

The Revolutionary Origins of American Constitutionalism
Pauline Maier and R.B. Bernstein
February 17 and 24, March 2, 9, 16 and 23. Apply by January 15, 2012
This seminar explores the origins of American constitutionalism and law in the Anglo-American past and the arguments and achievements of the revolutionary period (roughly 1764-1789). Its six sessions examine the ideology and organizational forms of the resistance to Britain, look closely at the first state constitutions (the world’s first written constitutions) and the issues they raised and to some extent resolved, then turn to the Articles of Confederation, the Federal Convention, the Constitution, state ratification debates, and the contributions of the First Federal Congress in fleshing out the new constitutional system.

Equal Justice Under Law: The Enduring Legacy of the Warren Court, 1953-1969
Stephen Wermiel
February 9 and 23, March 1, 8, 22, and 29. Apply by January 15, 2012
This seminar examines the Warren Court of the 1950s and 1960s, stressing politics, doctrine, and the strong judicial personalities of the period. Topics covered include the Court’s transformative role in civil rights and civil liberties, the rights of the accused, the electoral process and access to the courts. The seminar will explore both the politics of the Warren Court and the Warren Court’s impact on the politics of the nation.

Symposium Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention
Sponsored by the George Washington Law Review and the Institute for Constitutional History at the New-York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School 
Nov. 3-4, 2011


Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, 3:30 – 5:30 pm: Keynote Address
Prof. Brad Clark (GW) Introduces Dean Paul Berman (GW)
Dean Berman Opens the Conference and Introduces Prof. Bill Kelley (Notre Dame)
Bill Kelley Introduces Justice Scalia and discusses “Originalism and the Jurisprudence of Justice Scalia”
Justice Antonin Scalia – “The Methodology of Originalism”
Q & A between Prof. John Manning (Harvard) and Justice Scalia on Constitutional Interpretation

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Reception
6:30 – 9:30 pm: Dinner (Private Room – Kinkead’s)

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011
8:30 – 9:30 am: Breakfast Reception

9:30 – 11:45 am: Panel I
Moderator: Peter Smith (GW)
Mary Bilder (BC) – How Bad Were the Official Records of the Convention?
A.J. Bellia (Notre Dame) and Brad Clark (GW) – Cases Arising Under the Law of Nations
Greg Maggs (GW) – The Records of the Convention as a Source of the Original Meaning of the Constitution
Maeva Marcus (GW) – The Effect (or non-effect) of Founders on the Bench During the Early Republic

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm: Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 pm: Panel II (Judges Panel)
Moderator: Amanda Tyler (GW)
The Hon. Frank Easterbrook (Seventh Circuit)
The Hon. Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Circuit)
The Hon. Charles Lettow (Court of Federal Claims)
The Hon. Reena Raggi (Second Circuit)
The Hon. Jeff Sutton (Sixth Circuit)
The Hon. Diane Wood (Seventh Circuit)

3:15 – 5:15 pm: Panel III
Moderator: Tom Colby (GW)
Jamal Greene (Columbia) — The Persistence of “Original Intent” as a Description of Originalist Interpretation
Philip Hamburger (Columbia) – TBD
John McGinnis (Northwestern) – Thayer’s View of Judicial Review and the Founding
Jefferson Powell (GW) – Comment on McGinnis

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Reception

The Constitution: A Cosmopolitan Examination
Thomas Bender and David Golove
October 6, 13, and 27 and November 3, 10, and 17, 2011

This seminar will examine the ways in which the Constitution and constitutional law have drawn upon international ideas, incorporated international law into our domestic legal order, and responded to international legal/political issues. These engagements and entanglements with the larger world have played a widely underappreciated role in the making and the development of constitutional law. Indeed, beginning with the Constitutional Convention, this cosmopolitan outlook has informed many important moments of constitutional invention, and it has frequently framed debates and argument about both domestic and international affairs.

Rights in a Conflict
Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel
This seminar will explore elite and popular debate leading to recognition of reproductive rights under the U.S. Constitution, with the goal of examining how constitutional decisionmaking unfolds through social conflict. Using the emergence of the claim for a right to abortion as an historical case study, we will probe the relation between social movement, politics and law over the decades. How did mobilization and counter-mobilization shape and limit the law? What might this analysis suggest about the future trajectory of claims to sexual freedom, including same-sex marriage? The discussion
 will draw in part on material collected in a recently published documentary history, BEFORE ROE v. WADE: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling (Greenhouse & Siegel, 2010), as well as subsequent court cases.

Academic Freedom, Free Speech, and the First Amendment
David A. Hollinger and David Rabban
This workshop will address the foundations of academic freedom within and beyond the First Amendment to
 the Constitution of the United States. Although some discussants have sought to defend academic freedom
and freedom of speech on the same grounds, others have sharply distinguished between the two and have
 sought to vindicate academic freedom in the distinctive institutional role of teachers and researchers.

This workshop is made possible with support from the Park Foundation.

The Hughes Court

Mark Tushnet
This seminar will examine topics in the history of the Supreme Court in the 1930s, stressing interactions among ideas, politics and doctrine. Among the topics covered are the Court-packing plan, developments in administrative law, civil rights and civil liberties cases in the 1930s and developments in federal jurisdiction (including the Erie case).

Terrorism: Constitutional, Historical and Social Science Perspectives
Philip C. Bobbitt and Richard M. Pious
This seminar focuses on historical, legal and social science perspectives that bear on the problem of terrorism and the response of nation-states to threats of terror. Among the topics to be considered are the rise of the market-state and market-state terrorism; the impact of the market-state on theories of sovereignty and international law; the effectiveness, constitutionality, legality and morality of criminal justice, intelligence and militarization responses involving detention, interrogation and trial; and government accountability to domestic and international institutions. The seminar concludes with a session devoted to policy proposals.

The Economic Constitution: Coercion or Freedom?
Risa Goluboff and Avim Soifer
The Institute for Constitutional History is pleased to announce its 11th  annual residential summer research seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty. Since at least 1913, when Charles Beard published An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, scholars actively pursued ways in which the Constitution relates, or might relate, to economic issues. For Beard, the Constitution reflected the property-protecting instincts of the ruling class. Progressive scholars generally leveled similar accusations at the justices who interpreted the Constitution to protect
property rights during the first third of the twentieth century. Yet reading the Constitution as a document that protected the rights of the propertied was only one of many economic Constitutions that people have propounded over the course of American history. Many people have suggested alternative ways in which the Constitution speaks to economic issues.

Processes of Constitutional and Legal Change
David Fontana and Steven Teles
A simple—but crucial—question captures the essence of one of the central scholarly debates regarding American and comparative constitutional law, and all other forms of law: How does law change? This workshop focuses on the question, by discussing several debates that share the common research goal of trying to explain constitutional and other forms of legal change. By examining each of these debates, we can better understand the different ways that law evolves, and we can also understand the successes and failures of scholars in trying to explain that evolution.

Politics and History of Judicial Review in the United States
Keith E. Whittington
This seminar will focus on the history of judicial review in the United States from the founding period to the present. The course will give particular attention to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal law, but will also take note of federal review of state statutes and judicial review by state courts. We will explore how courts have used and justified the power of judicial review over time, how the practice of judicial review has changed, and how "activist" courts have been. We will examine the growth in the significance of the power of judicial review over time and the supports for, and opposition to, judicial review in the political sphere. The seminar will make use of both primary and secondary readings.

The Constitution and the Economy
James Surowiecki and John Fabian Witt
The United States Constitution is the foundation of the American economy. It sustains the property rights on which American markets rest. It shapes government regulation of those markets, too. But can a 220-year-old document support a 21st century economy? This seminar takes up the relationship between the Constitution and economic life in American history. It investigates the economic controversies that have surrounded the Constitution from its start, from the economic crises of the 1780s, to 19th-century battles over slavery, banking, the railroads and national infrastructure; from the income tax, the Federal Reserve and the New Deal state in the 20th century, to global trade agreements, eminent domain, and climate regulation in the 21st. In examining the ways in which the Constitution
 has shaped (and been shaped by) the transformations in the U.S. economy, we hope to glean answers to one of the most pressing questions of our time: How can that same Constitution successfully accommodate the economic challenges of our future?

Lincoln and the Constitution
Akhil Amar (Yale Law School) and James Oakes (Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Time and again the central issues and debates of Lincoln’s presidency drew him back to the Constitution. The seminar will address some of the most important constitutional questions that Lincoln himself addressed: What rights and protections did the slaveholders have under the Constitution? Was secession constitutional, or was the Union perpetual under the Constitution? Did emancipation violate the constitutional right of property? What were the constitutional war powers of the presidency? Under what conditions could the president constitutionally suspend habeas corpus? What effect did emancipation have on the citizenship status of the former slaves, and free blacks generally? And who got to decide these constitutional issues: Congress, the Supreme Court, or Lincoln himself?

Citizenship and its Exclusions
October 9, 2009
Friday, October 9, Professor Ediberto Roman presented the draft of his forthcoming book, Citizenship and Its Exclusions. Professor Roman teaches at Florida International University College of Law and is visiting at the American University Washington College of Law. The work-in-progress event took place in the 5th Floor Faculty Conference Center of Burns Hall. Lunch was served beginning at 11:45 a.m. and Professor Roman spoke at 12:15 p.m.

Author Meet Readers
September 25, 2009, 3:30–5 p.m.
A Roundtable Discussion of Barry Friedman's 
The Will of the People:  How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court 
and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution (2009)
American University Washington College of Law, Room 603
Co-sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional History.
Featuring author Barry Friedman, Vice Dean and Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law, New York University School of Law.

Commentary by:
Lynda Dodd, Assistant Professor, Washington College of Law

Mark Graber, Professor of Law & Government, University Maryland 

Steven Teles, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor, Harvard Law School

August 3–7, 2009
Third Annual Regional Workshop for College Teachers: "The Constitutional Legacy of the American Revolution"
"The Constitutional Legacy of the American Revolution," our third annual interdisciplinary workshop for college instructors, will take place in Santa Barbara, California, from August 3 to August 7, 2009. The workshop will be offered in association with the University of California, Santa Barbara. Professor Christian Fritz of the University of New Mexico School of Law will lead the workshop, along with guest instructors. 

This annual workshop is designed for college-level instructors who now teach or plan to teach undergraduate courses in constitutional studies, including constitutional history, constitutional law, and related subjects. Instructors who would like to devote a unit of a survey course to constitutional history are also welcome to apply. All college-level instructors are encouraged to apply, including adjuncts and part-time faculty members, from any academic discipline associated with constitutional studies (history, political science, law, anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, etc.). Preference for the workshop will be given, however, to applicants from the Western region of the United States, who teach at liberal arts colleges. Participants will receive free room and board in dormitory housing during the workshop, as well as a small stipend for travel expenses. The application deadline is May 15, 2009.
March 27

GWU Law School Works in Progress
Sexing Skinner: Marriage, Procreation, and Matters of Family Life

Ariela Dubler (Columbia Law School) Faculty Conference Center,

the George Washington University Law School

2000 H St. NW, Washington, D.C.

June 21–26, 2009

Tenth Annual Residential Summer Research Seminar


Professor Gerhard Casper (Stanford University) and Professor Linda K. Kerber (The University of Iowa)
The political transformations of the late 18th century in America and in France reached back to Greek and Roman understandings of the responsible participant in the city-state, and transformed subjects into rights-bearing citizens. In our own time, citizenship is often treated as static, a description of an individual’s fixed relationship to the nation.  The absence of citizenship—statelessness—is now recognized as a situation of extreme vulnerability.

But the meanings of citizenship, even in a stable nation, are dynamic. The Constitution uses the word “citizen” sparingly—as a requirement for election as president, senator or representative; authorizing federal courts to adjudicate claims between citizens of different states; and, notably, in the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” But the ingredients of citizenship are not specified in the Constitution (which generally refers to “the people”) and remained to be developed in practice over time. The claims to citizenship of aboriginal peoples, of women, of men and women of minority races, ethnicities and sexualities, have all been fragile.  We share a pressing need to understand citizenship—and claims to it by immigrants, refugees, and the stateless; men, women and children—in historical, sociological, economic, political and legal context. We welcome subjects that are comparative and transnational, as well as those that focus on the experience of a single nation.  

The Constitutional Law of Presidential-Congressional Relations
Monday evenings, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, and April 6, 2009. 

Richard Pious (Barnard College/Columbia University)
Graduate Research Seminar: Have presidents since Eisenhower overstepped constitutional boundaries and created an “imperial presidency”? Or did the Founders intend a “unitary executive” equipped with plenary authority in diplomatic, national security,  and military affairs? This seminar examines the intent of the Framers and the development of historical precedents  and constitutional law related to executive powers, control of administration, foreign policymaking, and war powers. We will explore whether federal courts have resolved the most important issues, and, if not, what effect judicial abstention has on the growth of presidential power. For more information on the seminar, please follow this link. The seminar syllabus is available here.

The Rights Revolution in the 20th Century

Mark Tushnet (Harvard Law School)
Graduate Research Seminar: This seminar examined aspects of the rights revolution in the 20th century. Topics included rights in the Progressive Era (including the Lochner doctrine), the conservative origins of modern civil liberties and civil rights, the reconceptualization of rights in the New Frontier and Great Society, the rise of a conservative rights movement and the institutional dimensions of the rights revolution.

Meeting Dates and Times: Monday evenings, 6:00–8:00 p.m., October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3, and November 10, 2008. The seminar met in Room 415 of Burns Hall at the George Washington University Law School, 20th and H Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. 

September 11
GWU Law School Works in Progress
The Federal Common Law of Nations
Professor Bradford Clark (GWU Law School)
Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.

October 14
A panel discussion cosponsored by the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit and the Federal Communications Bar Association:
FCC Indecency Cases in the D.C. Circuit: An Historical Perspective
Panelists: Hon. Timothy B. Dyk, Hon. Glen O. Robinson, Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, and Hon. Patricia M. Wald. Christopher J. Wright will moderate the discussion. Location:Ceremonial Courtroom, 6th Floor, E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, 3rd Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

October 20
GWU Law School Works in Progress
The Court of Life and Death: The Two Tracks of Constitutional Sentencing Law and the Case for Uniformity
Professor Rachel Barkow (New York University Law School)
Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School,
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.

October 24, 11:45 a.m.
GWU Law School Works in Progress
Rethinking Free Speech and Civil Liability
Professor Daniel Solove (GWU Law School)
Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School,
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.

October 29, Noon
GWU Law School Works in Progress
Government in Opposition
Professor David Fontana (GWU Law School)
Great Room, the George Washington University Law School,
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.

November 21
GWU Law School Works in Progress
The Great Longitude Controversy:  Administrative Law and Intellectual Property in the Eighteenth Century.
Professor Jonathan Siegel (GWU Law School)
Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School,
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.
R.S.V.P. to
Winter 2008

January 5, 2008
A Joint Program of the AALS Executive Committee and Institute for Constitutional Studies at the American Association of Law Schools Annual Conference:
 Saturday, January 5, 8:30 a.m., Mercury Ballroom, Third Floor, Hilton New York 
Moderator: Neil Kinkopf, Georgia State University, College of Law 
Participants: Randy E, Barnett, Georgetown University Law Center 
Mark A. Graber, University of Maryland School of Law 
Lisa Miller, Rutgers University, Political Science Department 
Robert A. Schapiro, Emory University School of Law 
Ernest Young, University of Texas

Description: Constitutional lawyers have recently been considering the value of federalism. Some political liberals now insist on the “local option” for matters as diverse as gay marriage and anti-terrorism policy. Some political conservatives insist that the above policies must be nationalized and maintain that the president, by signing a treaty, may alter state criminal processes. Political scientists have joined the debate. Recent work questions inherited wisdom which proclaims that national politics is more inclusive than local politics.

January 24, 2008 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"What You Don't Know Can Hurt You: Congress, the Courts, and the State Secrets Privilege"
Sponsored by The Constitution Project
For more information please visit The Constitution Project website.

March 18, Noon
GWU Law School Works in Progress
Family, the Law, and the Constitution(s)
Professor Katherine Baker (Chicago-Kent College of Law)
Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School,
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.

March 18, 4 pm
Author Meets Critics
The Day Freedom Died:
The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction

A discussion of the new book by Charles Lane of the Washington Post.
Parnelists: Michael Les Benedict, The Ohio State University
Robert M. Goldman, Virginia Union University
Mark Graber, University of Maryland School of Law
Location: Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School. 2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Spring 2008
March 27, Noon
GWU Law School Works in Progress
Dynamic Incorporation of Foreign Law
Professor Michael Dorf (Columbia Law School)
Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School.
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.

March 28, 7 p.m.
Our Undemocratic Constitution?
The Institute for Constitutional Studies and the GWU Honors Program presented a panel discussion of Sanford Levinson's book, Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitutuion Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)

Friday, March 28, 7 p.m.
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street NW, Room 113
Participants: Randy E, Barnett, Georgetown University Law Center 
Nathan Brown, George Washington University 
Sanford Levinson, University of Texas at Austin 
Jamin Raskin, American University Washington College of Law. This event was open to the public.

March-April 2008

The People and the Judges:
Constitutional Politics and Judicial Review in American History,
Monday evenings, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, and April 7, 2008. 
Michael Les Benedict (The Ohio State University)
Graduate Research Seminar: Most Americans think of the Supreme Court as the final interpreter of the U.S. Constitution, and for the past fifty years the Court has certainly claimed that role.  But historians and political scientists have always argued that Court decisions reflect the surrounding historical and political context.  Now many legal analysts are exploring how to incorporate this historical reality into jurisprudence.  What has been the role of the people themselves in developing constitutional rules?  To what degree are constitutional issues legal and to what degree political?  What is the relationship between constitutional politics and constitutional law? This seminar included readings and critiques of works that draw conclusions about these questions based on American constitutional history.

April 11, Noon
GWU Law School Works in Progress
Clearing the Smoke from Philip Morris v.Williams: The Past, Present, and Future of Punitive Damages
Professor Thomas B. Colby (GWU Law School)
Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School.
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.
April 25, Noon
GWU Law School Works in Progress
The Interpretation Wars
Professor Jonathan Siegel (GWU Law School)
Location: Faculty Conference Center, the George Washington University Law School.
2000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Summer 2008

June 8-14

Ninth Annual Residential Summer Research Seminar, June 8-14, 2008
"The Influence of Religion on Constitutional Thought"
Judge Michael McConnell (Tenth Circuit United States Court of Appeals) and Professor Mark Noll (University of Notre Dame)

Religious thinking has influenced many of the most fundamental features of American constitutional thought.  This seminar explored some of those developments, with focused discussion of selected readings in the morning sessions and paper presentations in the afternoon.  Among the topics considered were: Puritan and Reformed Protestant contributions to constitutionalism, republicanism, and revolution; the colonial Great Awakening (Jonathan Edwards) and ideals of society; William Penn and Quaker ideas of political order; Anglicanism, constitutional monarchy, and Loyalist protest; Presbyterian ecclesiology (e.g., John Witherspoon) and ideas of federalism and representation;  Baptist theology (including the rejection of infant baptism, e.g., Isaac Backus) and rising individualism and rejection of religious establishment; Masonic ideas (and opposition to them) in the formation of early republican ideology; varying religious appropriations of the Enlightenment; the Second Great Awakening and the rise of voluntarism and civil society; the religious roots of abolitionism and proslavery thought; Lincoln’s theology; women as leaders in church and state; and the 19th-century Roman Catholic critique (e.g., Orestes Brownson) of liberalism. Participants were not limited to these topics, but prepared and presented papers ranging across the modern history of constitutional democracy, based on various significant connections between religious and constitutional thought, broadly construed.
July 6-11

Second Annual Regional Workshop for College Teachers: "The Constitutional Convention"
"The Constitutional Convention," our second annual interdisciplinary workshop for college instructors, took place in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 6 to 11, and was offered in association with Emory University and the Georgia Humanities Council. Professor Sally Hadden of Florida State University led the workshop, along with guest instructors. 

This annual workshop is designed for college-level instructors who now teach or plan to teach undergraduate courses in constitutional studies, including constitutional history, constitutional law and related subjects. All college-level instructors are welcome to apply, including adjuncts and part-time faculty members, from any academic discipline associated with constitutional studies (history, political science, law, anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, etc.). Preference for this workshop was given, however, to applicants from the Southeast region of the United States and those who teach at liberal arts colleges. Participants received a $500 stipend and some travel expenses and were provided with dormitory housing during the workshop. The application deadline was April 11, 2008.
Fall 2007
Monday, November 1, 4 p.m.

Daniel Hamilton (Chicago-Kent College of Law)

George Washington University Law School alumnus Daniel Hamilton, who teaches at Chicago-Kent College of Law, was our featured speaker on Monday, November 12. The meeting took place at 4 p.m. in the Faculty Conference Center at the GW Law School. Professor Hamilton discussed his recent book, The Limits of Sovereignty: Property Confiscation in the Union and the Confederacy During the Civil War.

October 1-November 5 (Mondays at 6 p.m.)
William E. Leuchtenburg (University of North Carolina)

Distinguished historian William Leuchtenburg led a six-week graduate seminar on the conflict between Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Supreme Court in the 1930s. Professor Leuchtenburg led students through a variety of pertinent constitutional issues, including the expansion of the presidency under FDR, the seminal Supreme Court decisions of 1934–1937, the "Court-packing" struggle, and the "Constitutional Revolution" of the 1930s.
Thursday, November 1, 2 p.m.

Dr. Christian Vieweg
Dr. Christian Vieweg presented his research on military policy in colonial and revolutionary Virginia. His work examines the ideological and empirical origins of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Friday, October 19

The Center for Politics, University of Virginia
ICS participated in UVA's annual constitutional convention, held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The convention's theme was "A Call to Reform." Prominent scholars, journalists, and politicians participated in the event. Among them were Geraldine Ferraro, Bob Dole, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Bob Schieffer, and Sarah Weddington. More information is available on the center's website.

Summer 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Whither Constitutional History: An Intergenerational and Interdisciplinary Conversation

A roundtable discussion at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Chicago.
Panelists include:
Risa Goluboff, University of Virginia
Kathleen Sullivan, Ohio University
Jed Shugerman, Harvard Law School
Leslie Goldstein, University of  Delaware

 For more information on the conference, please visit the APSA website.

June 11 to 17
Summer Research Seminar: The Institute hosted its eighth annual interdisciplinary summer research seminar. The topic for 2007 was "Constitutionalism" and the seminar was led by Aviam Soifer (dean of the University of Hawai'i law school) and Mary Sarah Bilder (Boston College). The seminar was open to advanced graduate students and junior faculty members. Participants received free lodging at George Washington University, a travel allowance, and a modest per diem to cover food and additional expenses.

July 8 to 14
Regional Workshop for College Teachers: "New Approaches to Teaching the Constitution," an interdisciplinary workshop on the Constitution for college instructors. The workshop was held in Albany, New York, from July 8 to 14, and was offered in association with the University at Albany (SUNY). The workshop was led by Sandra F. VanBurkleo of Wayne State University, with guest instructors from several academic disciplines (including Richard Hamm of the University at Albany, Paul Finkelman of Albany Law School, and Stephen Schechter of Russell Sage College). 

This annual workshop is designed for college-level instructors who now teach or plan to teach undergraduate courses in constitutional studies, including constitutional history, constitutional law and related subjects. All college-level instructors are welcome to apply, including adjuncts and part-time faculty members, from any academic discipline associated with constitutional studies (history, political science, law, anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, etc.). However, preference for the 2007 workshop was given to applicants from the Northeast region of the United States and those who teach at liberal arts colleges. Participants received a $500 stipend and some travel expenses and were provided with dormitory housing during the workshop. The application deadline was April 13.

April 2007
Thursday, April 5, noon

Meet the Author: Professor Gerard N. Magliocca (Indiana University School of Law) discussed his new book on a critical period of American history, Andrew Jackson and the Constitution: The Rise and Fall of Generational Regimes (University Press of Kansas).
According to the publisher, "Magliocca reinterprets the legal landmarks of the Jacksonian era to demonstrate how the meaning of the Constitution evolves in a cyclical and predictable fashion. ... Offering intriguing parallels between Jackson and George W. Bush regarding the scope of executive power, Magliocca has produced a rich synthesis of history, political science, and law that revives our understanding of an entire era and its controversies, while providing a model of constitutional law applicable to any period." "This is a truly distinguished contribution to our constitutional understanding, combining theory and history in an exemplary fashion. If you are going to read one book about our Constitution this year, read Magliocca's," said Bruce Ackerman (Yale Law School).
Location: Jacob Burns Moot Court Room (ground floor of Burns Hall), George Washington University Law School, noon-1:30 p.m. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.

Monday, April 9, noon
Colloquium: Professor John Fabian Witt of Columbia University presented a chapter from his forthcoming book, Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law. The chapter deals with the rise of American tort law after WWII, especially how the modern plaintiffs' bar re-invested the courts with regulatory power in the decades after the New Deal, and the significance of American constitutional framework in explaining American public policy.
Location: The Faculty Conference Center at the George Washington University Law School (on the 5th floor of the Burns Law Library), at noon on Monday, April 9. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.
The signing of the Constitution.

Other Past Events

January 2006
Thursday, January 5, 4-5:45 p.m.
Panel: "Golden Age, Normal Judicial Politics, or Popular Constitutionalism: Constitutional Law Before the Civil War"
This panel explored revisionist scholarship on antebellum constitutional politics. Traditional wisdom, best articulated by Charles Warren and Robert McCloskey, regards this era as a golden age, marked by a sharp separation between law and politics. The participants on this panel disagree. American politics was saturated with constitutional concerns. The primary motor driving American constitutional development before the Civil War was politics out of doors, exhibited for example in popular responses to the Alien and Sedition Acts and the use of militia as a form of constitutional protest. American constitutional law was saturated with politics. Court appointments were made with political ends in mind, most justices had previously been prominent politicians, and such constitutional struggles as Cherokee removal can only be understood at the intersection of law and politics.
Panelists: Maeva Marcus, Director, Institute for Constitutional Studies (moderator); Saul Cornell, Professor of History, Ohio State University; Robert J. Cottrol, The George Washington University Law School; Mark A. Graber, Professor of Government, University of Maryland and Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law; Ariela J. Gross, University of Southern California Gould School of Law; and Gerard Nicholas Magliocca, Jr., Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis.
Location: Annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (Marriot Wardman Park hotel, Washington, DC); conference registration is required to attend this session.
This panel was a joint program of the Institute for Constitutional Studies and the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools.

February 2006
Friday, February 10, noon
Colloquium: Professor Victoria Nourse of the University of Wisconsin discussed her paper, "In Evil or Reckless Hands: The Secret History of Crime, Race and Science in Skinner v. Oklahoma."
Location: The Faculty Conference Center at the George Washington University Law School (on the 5th floor of the Burns Law Library), at noon on Friday, February 10. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.  

March 2006
Friday, March 17, noon
Colloquium: Professor David Barron of the Harvard Law School presented a paper on the power of local officials to make independent interpretations of state or federal constitutional law entitled "Why (and When) Cities Have a Stake in Enforcing the Constitution." His paper focused on the conflict between the Mayor of San Francisco and state officials in California over the question of same-sex marriage.
Location: The Faculty Conference Center at the George Washington University Law School (on the 5th floor of the Burns Law Library), at noon on Friday, March 17. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.  

Thursday, March 23, 4 p.m.
Panel discussion: "The Confrontation Clause vs. Effective Domestic Violence Prosecution? A Panel Discussion of the Pending Hammon/Davis Cases in the Supreme Court"
The Hammon/Davis cases (Hammon v. Indiana and Davis v. Washington), both involving domestic violence against women, have raised significant issues about the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment—and there is much historical content to be found in the briefs on both sides. This panel discussion was scheduled to coincide with the presentation of oral arguments for these cases before the Supreme Court.

Panelists: Timothy O'Toole, Chief, Special Litigation Section, Public Defender Service of D.C. (O'Toole is author of the leading amicus brief supporting the defendants/appellants); Mary McCord, Deputy Chief, Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Unit, U.S. Attorney's Office (McCord assisted with the brief for the U.S. Solicitor General and is litigating two pending appeals in the District of Columbia on this issue); Joan S. Meier, Professor of Clinical Law and Director, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, George Washington University Law School; moderated by Stephen A. Saltzburg, Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School.
Location: The George Washington University Law School, Lerner 401, at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 23. The law school is located at 20th and H Streets NW; Lerner 401 is more or less directly above the main entrance to the building on the 4th floor.
This event was co-sponsored by the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, the George Washington University Law School, and the Washington Council of Lawyers.

Friday, March 24, noon
Colloquium: Professor Melissa Schwartzberg of the political science department at George Washington University presented a paper entitled "Against Entrenchment." A brief description is included below. This event was co-sponsored by the American Political Science Association (APSA).  
Location: The colloquium was held at the headquarters of the APSA, 1527 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. (The nearest Metro stop is Dupont Circle.)
Here is a brief synopsis of the paper from Prof. Schwartzberg:
"Although democrats have used immutable, or 'entrenched,' law since ancient Athens, contemporary constitutionalists should resist the adoption of unamendable laws. In this paper, I review four key types of entrenchment, from temporally limited restrictions on change to robust but implicit forms of immutability. I then briefly present the logic that governed the use of entrenchment in ancient Athens, in Cromwell's Instrument of Government, and in the American founding as a means of highlighting the strategic and instrumental purposes to which legislators have put entrenchment. Entrenchment should not be used even as a means of protecting rights or foundational commitments (e.g., to human dignity); rather than excluding the possibility of change, I suggest, entrenchment shifts the locus of amendment away from legislatures and toward courts. In conclusion, I outline the broader democratic implications of the use of entrenchment, and defend an approach to constitutionalism that embraces the capacity to learn through ongoing public deliberation."

April 2006
Friday, April 14, noon
Colloquium: Professor Heather Gerken of the Harvard Law School presented a paper entitled "Dissenting by Deciding." Her paper examined complex questions of whether certain kinds of official decisions—say, by juries, school boards, or other decision-making bodies—might be understood not just as "action," but as dissent from majoritarian norms.
Location: The Faculty Conference Center at the George Washington University Law School (on the 5th floor of the Burns Law Library), at noon on Friday, April 14. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.

June 2006
June 12-23
Summer seminar: "War Powers and the Constitution." Please follow this link for more information.

September 2006
Sunday, September 3, 8-9:30 a.m.
Panel: "The Constitution and the Civil War"
This panel explored the impact that secession, surrender, Reconstruction and the post-Civil War Amendments had on the American constitutional order. On some readings, the Constitution of 1868 merely perfected the Constitution of 1787, as Americans realized their constitutional aspiration to end slavery. On other readings, the Constitution of 1868 was an entirely new constitutional order, with entirely new commitments to equality or other values. Some of the leading thinkers in law and political science debated these issues.
Panelists: Sanford Levinson, University of Texas-Austin (chair); Pamela Brandwein, University of Texas-Dallas; James R. Stoner, Louisiana State University; Mark E. Brandon, Vanderbilt Law School; Daniel Hamilton, University of Chicago-Kent School of Law, and Mark A. Graber, University of Maryland.
Location: Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (Philadelphia, PA); conference registration was required to attend this session.

This panel was sponsored by the Institute for Constitutional Studies.
Constitution Day was celebrated on Monday, September 18.

October 2006
Thursday, October 5, 4-5:15 p.m.

Meet the Author: USA Today Supreme Court correspondent Joan Biskupic discussed her recent book on Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice.
Location: Faculty Conference Center (Burns 505), George Washington University Law School, at 4:00 pm on Thursday, October 5. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
Wednesday, October 18, 4:00-5:30
Workshop: Professor Barry Friedman of the New York University Law School presented material from his book on judicial review. A draft chapter — The Birth of Judicial Review ("this Great Constitutional Question") — was precirculated.
Location: Faculty Library (Burns 506), George Washington University Law School, at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, October 18. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.

November 2006
Monday, November 6, 3:30-5 p.m.
Author Meets Critics: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discussed his recent book, Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution, and responded to comments by Joel Grossman (Johns Hopkins University), Ira C. Lupu (George Washington University), and Max Stearns (University of Maryland School of Law). Moderated by Frederick M. Lawrence (dean of the GW Law School).
Location: Supreme Court of the United States (One 1st Street, NE), EAST Conference Room. Use the Maryland Avenue entrance; the East Conference Room is on the first floor. We recommend that attendees arrive early to leave sufficient time for security measures at the Court building (metal detector and I.D. check).

Wednesday, November 15, noon-1:30 p.m.
Colloquium: Professor William J. Stuntz of the Harvard Law School presented a paper entitled "Fighting Wars and Fighting Crime."
Location (note change): The Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, George Washington University Law School (on the ground floor of the Burns Law Library), at noon on Wednesday, November 15. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.

Friday, November 17, noon–1:30 p.m. 
(rescheduled from November 10)
Colloquium: Professor Jack Goldsmith of the Harvard Law School presented a paper entitled "Sosa, Customary International Law, and the Continuing Relevance of Erie."
Location (note change): The Great Room of the Burns Law Library at the George Washington University Law School (on the first floor, next to the main elevator), at noon on Friday, November 17. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.

January 2007
Thursday, January 25, 4–5:30 p.m.
Workshop: Professor Anthony J. Bellia, Jr. of the University of Notre Dame presented a paper entitled "The Origins of Article III 'Arising Under' Jurisdiction." Here is an abstract of the paper provided by Prof. Bellia:
Article III of the Constitution provides that the “judicial Power” of the United States extends to all cases “arising under” the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States. What the phrase “arising under” imports in Article III has long confounded courts and scholars. This paper examines the historical origins of Article III “arising under” jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has been mindful of historical understandings in determining the scope of various heads of Article III jurisdiction; accordingly, the analysis that this paper presents is of both historical and doctrinal interest. The paper proceeds in four stages. First, it describes jurisdictional principles of English law that provide necessary context for understanding early political and judicial arguments about the meaning of “arising under.” Second, it explains how participants in the framing of Article III and in debates over its ratification described “arising under” jurisdiction. Third, it explains the import that early American courts, invoking English jurisdictional principles, gave to Article III “arising under” jurisdiction. In particular, this paper explains, in its proper historical context, the meaning of the landmark 1824 case Osborn v. United States, in which Chief Justice John Marshall described a case as “arising under” federal law if a federal law “forms an ingredient of the original cause.” Finally, the paper identifies certain implications of this history for our understandings of Article III “arising under” jurisdiction today.
Location: Faculty Library (Burns 506), George Washington University Law School, at 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 25. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.

Tuesday, January 30, noon
Colloquium: Professor Michael I. Meyerson of the University of Baltimore School of Law (and a visiting professor of law at George Washington University) presented a paper entitled "Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World."
Location: The Faculty Conference Center at the George Washington University Law School (on the 5th floor of the Burns Law Library), at noon on Tuesday, January 30. The main entrance to the law school is at 20th and H Streets, NW.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.

February 2007
Starting February 7, ICS offered a non-credit Graduate Seminar on "Judicial Biography," led by Professor Melvin I. Urofsky (Virginia Commonwealth University).

March 2007
Wednesday, March 14, noon
Colloquium: Professor Martha Ertman of the University of Utah law school (and visiting professor of law at George Washington University) presented a paper on "The Story of Reynolds v. U.S.: Federal 'Hell Hounds' Punishing Mormon Treason" (a chapter from the forthcoming book, Family Law Stories).
Location: Student Conference Center, Lisner Hall (second floor), George Washington University Law School.
This colloquium was co-sponsored by the George Washington University Law School works-in-progress committee.
Thursday, March 29, 3:15 p.m.
Author Meets Critics: Professor William M. Wiecek (Congdon Professor of Law and Professor of History at Syracuse University) discussed his new volume in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court, The Birth of the Modern Constitution: The United States Supreme Court, 1941-1953 (Cambridge University Press, 2006). The author will also respond to comments by Melvin Urofsky (Virginia Commonwealth University), Mark Graber (University of Maryland School of Law), and others.
Location: University of Maryland School of Law, 500 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD.

Creative: Tronvig Group