The Safeguards of Our Constitutional Republic
February 2, 2018
We find ourselves today at a political, legal, and cultural crossroad. Year 2017 has been marked by scandals, standoffs, travesties, and tragedies. customs have been flouted; compacts broken; laws ignored; elections meddled with; and individuals and communities debased.
Radical Executive Branch policies, personnel decisions, diplomatic postures, and corrosive forms of engagement with Congress, the media, the judiciary, states and localities, and the public writ large have prompted many to ask whether we’re careening down the road to constitutional crisis. Indeed, everywhere we look, the rule of law is being tested by a President who tries to vanquish and delegitimize political and legal rivals, advance personal and familial business interests, and promote a particularly virulent strain of nationalism.
This Symposium brings together many of the nation's top legal scholars and some of its most adroit practicing lawyers to assess this critical, perhaps, unprecedented moment. Drawing on their professional experiences and on their studies of legal history, jurisprudence, ethics, organizational behavior, legal theory, political development, and comparative constitutionalism, participants inquire whether we're in a time of simple flux or full-blown crisis; whether any such crisis rises to the level of a constitutional (as opposed to just a political or cultural) dislocation; and how we can steer the ship of State back on course.
The Symposium features five panels focused on the challenges we face — and on the institutions and conventions we draw upon to meet these challenges. Anchoring the day’s events is a keynote address by the Honorable Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.
9:00-9:15 Welcome Remarks
10:35-11:45 Panel II: Federalism and the Role of State, Local, and Tribal Governments
· David Fontana, George Washington University
· Miriam Seifter, University of Wisconsin
· Seth Davis, University of California, Irvine
12:00-1:30 Lunch + Keynote Address by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, California Supreme Court
2:55-4:20 Panel IV: The Administrative State
· Jennifer Nou, University of Chicago
· David Super, Georgetown University
· Paul Verkuil, Administrative Conference of the United States (ret.)
· Christopher Walker, Ohio State University
5:45-6:00 Concluding Remarks
The Symposium is sponsored by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.