Symposium Archives

Imagining a New Constitution

Imagining a New Constitution for the United States in the 21st Century

January 11, 2008

Generally when people think about the Constitution and its future they begin from what we have and think within the confines of constitutional doctrine, trying to figure out how this or that provision of the document may be, or should be interpreted. This symposium starts from a different place, thinking about the constitution we would design were we starting with a blank slate, the constitution we would design if we were to begin with the 21st not the 18th century. What would it look like? Would it contain institutional arrangements that separate powers? Would it envision different institutions? Would it guarantee rights? Would it provide affirmative guarantees of welfare, education, health care? How would it deal with our global situation? Would it define citizenship in more or less inclusive ways? What, if anything, would it borrow from the constitutions of other nations?

Organized by Professor Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst and Justice Hugo L. Black Visiting Senior Faculty Scholar for the 2007-2008 academic year at the University of Alabama School of Law.

Participants include:
David Fontana, George Washington Law School
Sanford Levinson, University of Texas Law School
William Marshall, University of North Carolina Law School
Lorraine Weinrib, University of Toronto Law School

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Welcome and Introduction ( Download MP3/Podcast)

Dean Ken Randall and Professor Austin Sarat

Session I ( Download MP3/Podcast)
Reconceiving the United States Constitution

Lorraine Weinrib, University of Toronto School of Law
Moderator: Montre Carodine, The University of Alabama School of Law

Session II ( Download MP3/Podcast)
Recognizing the Values Associated w Minority Dominated Institutions

Heather Gerken, Yale Law School
Moderator: Bryan Fair, The University of Alabama School of Law

Lunch and Keynote ( Download MP3/Podcast)
Redesigning the United States Constitution: Is it Desirable? Is it Feasible?

Sanford Levinson, University of Texas School of Law

Session III ( Download MP3/Podcast)
Recalibrating Checks and Balances: Dividing the Executive

William Marshall, University of North Carolina School of Law
Moderator: Pamela Bucy, The University of Alabama School of Law

Session IV ( Download MP3/Podcast)
Government in Opposition: the New Separation of Powers

David Fontana, George Washington University School of Law
Moderator: Paul Horwitz, The University of Alabama School of Law

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