Events • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Book Talk: Lawrence Lessig’s America, Compromised, Wednesday, March 27 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of America, Compromised by Lawrence Lessig (Univ. Chi. Press, Nov. 2018).  Professor Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required, light lunch will be served

America, Compromised Poster

About America, Compromised

“There is not a single American awake to the world who is comfortable with the way things are.”

So begins Lawrence Lessig’s sweeping indictment of contemporary American institutions and the corruption that besets them. We can all see it—from the selling of Congress to special interests to the corporate capture of the academy. Something is wrong. It’s getting worse.

And it’s our fault. What Lessig shows, brilliantly and persuasively, is that we can’t blame the problems of contemporary American life on bad people, as our discourse all too often tends to do. Rather, he explains, “We have allowed core institutions of America’s economic, social, and political life to become corrupted. Not by evil souls, but by good souls. Not through crime, but through compromise.” Every one of us, every day, making the modest compromises that seem necessary to keep moving along, is contributing to the rot at the core of American civic life. Through case studies of Congress, finance, the academy, the media, and the law, Lessig shows how institutions are drawn away from higher purposes and toward money, power, quick rewards—the first steps to corruption.

Lessig knows that a charge so broad should not be levied lightly, and that our instinct will be to resist it. So he brings copious, damning detail gleaned from years of research, building a case that is all but incontrovertible: America is on the wrong path. If we don’t acknowledge our own part in that, and act now to change it, we will hand our children a less perfect union than we were given. It will be a long struggle. This book represents the first steps. — University of Chicago Press

About Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Lessig serves on the Board of the AXA Research Fund, and on the advisory boards of Creative Commons and the Sunlight Foundation. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries. Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

More About America, Compromised

“America, Compromised is about the country in the Trump era, but not about Trump. Indeed, Lessig would have written much the same book if Hillary Clinton were president and if Democrats had control of both houses of Congress. His focus is not on bad people doing bad things, but on how incentives across a range of institutions have created corruption, with deleterious consequences for the nation. . . . America, Compromised join[s] an impressive array of books and essays that may, someday, have a future intellectual historian using them as examples to lament the fact that his or her contemporaries are not as eloquent or important as the group that arose in the Trump era to combat the threats to our way of life.” — Norm Ornstein — New York Times Book Review

“Lessig lays out a working definition and theory of corruption that is at once simple and comprehensive, a devastating argument that America is racing for the cliff’s edge of structural, possibly irreversible tyranny.” — Cory Doctorow

 

HLS faculty and students: join us for Notes and Comments!

On Wednesday, April 10, from 2:30-5pm, the normally quiet* tables of the HLS Library Reading Room will become collaboration zones for student-faculty interaction on scholarly topics during Notes & Comment: Connecting Students and Faculty on Scholarship. Faculty will be available to meet with students seeking guidance on their research and writing for publication — including student Notes in HLS journals, writing competitions, and other extra-curricular publishing opportunities.

Faculty members will be available to advise you on the scholarship process and discuss your ideas and outlines during one-on-one and small group meetings in the Library Reading Room with a food and drinks networking reception. The reception begins at 2:30 and the advising at 3pm. You will also be able to sign up to meet with a librarian for a research consultation.

Please let us know you’re coming at http://bit.ly/ncspr19 so that the event coordinators can plan appropriate student-faculty partnerships in advance. We will schedule partnerships based on signup time, so it is to your advantage to sign up early. Advance registration will be available through April 2nd.

Photo credit:
Writing Tools by Pete O’Shea on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Book Talk: Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority, Wednesday, March 13th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority edited by Claire Finkelstein and Michael Skerker (Oxford Univ. Press, 2018).  Professor Finkelstein will be joined in conversation with Professor Charles Fried and Professor Adrian Vermeule.

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Students for the Rule of Law.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority Poster

About Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority

“This volume explores moral and legal issues relating to sovereignty by addressing foundational questions about its nature, examining state sovereignty between states, and dealing with post 9/11 developments in the U.S., potentially destabilizing received views of democratic sovereignty. With essays addressing foundational, state and international sovereignty, the book focuses on Post 9/11 developments including the profusion of secret national security programs, including those pertaining to the interrogation, rendition, and detention of terror suspects; signal intercepts and meta-data analysis; and targeted killing of irregular militants; prompting questions regarding the legitimacy of executive power in this arena.” — Oxford University Press

Claire FinkelsteinProfessor Claire Finkelstein is the Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy; Director at the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School. She has published extensively in the areas of criminal law theory, moral and political philosophy as applied to legal questions, jurisprudence, and rational choice theory. One of her distinctive contributions is bringing philosophical rational choice theory to bear on legal theory. She has focused in recent years on the implications of Hobbes’ political theory for substantive legal questions. She is the series editor, with Jens Ohlin, of the Oxford Series in Ethics, National Security and the Rule of Law. Within that series, she has co-edited three volumes to date: Targeted Killings: Law & Mortality in an Asymmetrical World (2012), Cyberwar: Law and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts; and Weighing Lives in War (2017). She is also the editor of Hobbes on Law (2005). She is the Faculty Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania.

Charles FriedProfessor Charles Fried will join Professor Finkelstein in discussion of Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority.  Professor Fried is the Beneficial Professor of Law and has been teaching at Harvard Law School since 1961. He was Solicitor General of the United States, 1985-89, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1995-99. He contributed a chapter to Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority titled Defining and Constraining the Sovereign.

Adrian VermeuleAdrian Vermeule is the Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. Before coming to the Law School, he was the Bernard D. Meltzer Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. The author or co-author of nine books, most recently Law’s Abnegation: From Law’s Empire to the Administrative State (2016), The Constitution of Risk (2014) and The System of the Constitution (2012). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.

 

 

 

Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s On Freedom, Wednesday, February 27 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of On Freedom by Cass R. Sunstein (Princeton Univ. Press, February 2019). Professor Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Sunstein On Freedom poster

About On Freedom

“In this pathbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author Cass Sunstein asks us to rethink freedom. He shows that freedom of choice isn’t nearly enough. To be free, we must also be able to navigate life. People often need something like a GPS device to help them get where they want to go—whether the issue involves health, money, jobs, children, or relationships.

In both rich and poor countries, citizens often have no idea how to get to their desired destination. That is why they are unfree. People also face serious problems of self-control, as many of them make decisions today that can make their lives worse tomorrow. And in some cases, we would be just as happy with other choices, whether a different partner, career, or place to live—which raises the difficult question of which outcome best promotes our well-being.

Accessible and lively, and drawing on perspectives from the humanities, religion, and the arts, as well as social science and the law, On Freedom explores a crucial dimension of the human condition that philosophers and economists have long missed—and shows what it would take to make freedom real.” — Princeton University Press

More About On Freedom

“Real freedom is the freedom to reach your goal, not to get lost at every turn. In this powerful book, Cass Sunstein shows when policy can help us navigate to where we want to go, where policy might overstep by choosing the end point for us, and how to tell the two apart. A delightful masterpiece.” — Esther Duflo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

On Freedom is an elegant, clear, deceptively simple book about a fiendishly complex problem. How can free societies help citizens to navigate among a perplexing multitude of forking paths, only some of which lead toward desirable ends? How is a nudge in the right direction distinct from coercion? What is the best way to enable people to choose paths that enhance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Drawing on a wealth of probing examples from social policy, literature, and his own experience, Sunstein brilliantly illuminates the challenges that face governments and individuals and sketches plausible ways forward.” — Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

“In this eloquent and timely book, Cass Sunstein asks urgent questions relevant to the crisis of democracy in which we find ourselves. As the author has demonstrated in the past, he is a thoughtful navigator of territory we may have prematurely believed we understood.” — Joyce Carol Oates

“An important and engaging book on freedom and choice by a top scholar. Sunstein gives us a comprehensive and cutting-edge treatment of his enormously influential work on nudging and well-being.” — L. A. Paul, author of Transformative Experience

“By redefining freedom, this becomes a book about the meaning of life.” — Robert J. Shiller, Nobel Prize–winning economist

Book Talk: Will China Save the Planet?, Wednesday, February 20th at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Barbara Finamore’s Will China Save the Planet? (Polity, Nov., 2018).  Barbara Finamore is a Senior Attorney and Asia Senior Strategic Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She has over three decades of experience in environmental law and energy policy, with a focus on China for twenty-five years. In 1996, she founded NRDC’s China Program, the first clean energy program to be launched by an international NGO.

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, East Asian Legal Studies, the HLS Environmental Law Society, and the Harvard-China Project.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B
1557 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA (Directions)
No RSVP required

Will China Save the Planet Book Talk

 

About Will China Save the Planet?

“Now that Trump has turned the United States into a global climate outcast, will China take the lead in saving our planet from environmental catastrophe? Many signs point to yes. China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, is leading a global clean energy revolution, phasing out coal consumption and leading the development of a global system of green finance.

But as leading China environmental expert Barbara Finamore explains, it is anything but easy. The fundamental economic and political challenges that China faces in addressing its domestic environmental crisis threaten to derail its low-carbon energy transition. Yet there is reason for hope. China’s leaders understand that transforming the world’s second largest economy from one dependent on highly polluting heavy industry to one focused on clean energy, services and innovation is essential, not only to the future of the planet, but to China’s own prosperity.” — Polity

More About Will China Save the Planet?

“A hugely informative and readable book about how much China is doing – and needs to do – to spur the clean energy revolution that is a crucial element in the fight against climate change. I highly recommend it.” — Todd Stern, Former Special Envoy for Climate Change under President Obama

“Finamore has written an impressively well-researched and truly fascinating account of China’s fitful odyssey to climate consciousness. In an otherwise pretty bleak global tableau, this progress offers some welcome grounds for hope.” — Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society

“A must-read.” — Make Wealth History

‘Barbara Finamore has written a highly readable and informative overview of China’s role in the global climate change battle. Will China Save the Planet? is a good primer for environmental policy analysts and anyone else interested in studying feasible solutions to climate change, humanity’s greatest threat.’ — Eurasia Review

Book Talk: Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies, Wednesday, November 14 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of the Twentieth Anniversary Edition of Sanford Levinson’s Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies (Duke Univ. Press, Oct. 5, 2018).  Sanford Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  Professor Levinson will be joined in discussion by Boston Globe Columnist Jeff Jacoby; Randall L. Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; and Bruce Mann, Carl F. Schipper, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Written in Stone poster

About Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies

“From the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans in the spring of 2017 to the violent aftermath of the white nationalist march on the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville later that summer, debates and conflicts over the memorialization of Confederate “heroes” have stormed to the forefront of popular American political and cultural discourse. In Written in Stone Sanford Levinson considers the tangled responses to controversial monuments and commemorations while examining how those with political power configure public spaces in ways that shape public memory and politics. Paying particular attention to the American South, though drawing examples as well from elsewhere in the United States and throughout the world, Levinson shows how the social and legal arguments regarding the display, construction, modification, and destruction of public monuments mark the seemingly endless confrontation over the symbolism attached to public space.

This twentieth anniversary edition of Written in Stone includes a new preface and an extensive afterword that takes account of recent events in cities, schools and universities, and public spaces throughout the United States and elsewhere. Twenty years on, Levinson’s work is more timely and relevant than ever.” — Duke University Press

More About Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies

“Sanford Levinson has written a wonderfully wise and informed essay on the issue of how we commemorate the past when the past keeps on changing.” — Nathan Glazer, author of, We Are All Multiculturalists Now

“Much has been written about the controversy over public presentations of history, but rarely has the question of how to memorialize our past received the thoughtful, incisive, and fair-minded analysis provided by Sanford Levinson.” — Eric Foner, author of, The Story of American Freedom

Sanford Levinson

 

 

 

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Jeff Jacoby

 

 

 

Boston Globe Columnist Jeff Jacoby

 

 

Randall Kennedy

 

 

 

 

Randall L. Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Bruce Mann

 

 

 

 

Bruce Mann, Carl F. Schipper, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Book Talk: Tough Cases: Judges Tell the Stories About Some of the Hardest Decisions They’ve Ever Made, Wednesday, October 17 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Tough Cases: Judges Tell the Stories About Some of the Hardest Decisions They’ve Ever Made, edited by Russell Canan, Gregory Mize and Frederick Weisberg (The New Press, August 2018).

Russell Canan is currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Frederick Weisberg is currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and teaches annually in the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School.  Gregory E. Mize is a currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and is a judicial fellow at the National Center for State Courts and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.

The book talk discussion will include: Judge David J. Barron, The Honorable S. William Green Visiting Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School and Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; Nikolas Bowie, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Andrew Manuel Crespo, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.), Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School; Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University; and Judge Frederick H. Weisberg, Associate Judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Copies of Tough Cases will be available for sale courtesy of the Harvard Law School COOP.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West A/B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Tough Cases poster

About Tough Cases

“Prosecutors and defense attorneys have it easy—all they have to do is to present the evidence and make arguments. It’s the judges who have the heavy lift: they are the ones who have to make the ultimate decisions, many of which have profound consequences on the lives of the people standing in front of them.

In Tough Cases, judges from different kinds of courts in different parts of the country write about the cases that proved most difficult for them to decide. Some of these cases received international attention: the Elián González case in which Judge Jennifer Bailey had to decide whether to return a seven-year-old boy to his father in Cuba after his mother drowned trying to bring the child to the United States, or the Terri Schiavo case in which Judge George Greer had to decide whether to withdraw life support from a woman in a vegetative state over the objections of her parents, or the Scooter Libby case about appropriate consequences for revealing the name of a CIA agent. Others are less well-known but equally fascinating: a judge on a Native American court trying to balance U.S. law with tribal law, a young Korean American former defense attorney struggling to adapt to her new responsibilities on the other side of the bench, and the difficult decisions faced by a judge tasked with assessing the mental health of a woman accused of killing her own children.

Relatively few judges have publicly shared the thought processes behind their decision making. Tough Cases makes for fascinating reading for everyone from armchair attorneys and fans of Law and Order to those actively involved in the legal profession who want insight into the people judging their work.” — The New Press

Panelists

David Barron

 

 

Judge David J. Barron, The Honorable S. William Green Visiting Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School and Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

 

Nikolas Bowie

 

 

 

Nikolas Bowie, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Andrew Crespo

 

 

 

Andrew Manuel Crespo, Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Charles Fried

 

 

 

Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Judge Nancy Gertner

 

 

 

Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.), Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School

 

Martha Minow

 

 

 

Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University

 

Frederick Weisberg

 

 

 

Judge Frederick H. Weisberg, Associate Judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Banned Books Week Events at HLS

We’re expanding our Banned Books Week activities this year, and we look forward to celebrating our freedom to read with you!

Most Challenged Books of 2017 Exhibit
Yes, books are still having their places in libraries and on school reading lists challenged every year. Visit the exhibit case between Langdell and Areeda Halls to see what the most challenged books of 2017 were. You might be surprised!

Banned Books & Censorship Exhibit
The issue of banning books ties into other forms of censorship. Visit our bulletin board by the library entrance for some questions and reports on recent anti-free press actions, current issues in free speech, the big censorship stories of 2017, and private actors and free speech. Plus learn about some of the many organizations fighting censorship that you can get involved with!

3rd Annual Read-Out
Tuesday, September 25
Library steps
Bring your lunch and join us in reading aloud passages from some of our favorite banned books. Are you part of the HLS community and want to join the reading roster? Please email Meg Kribble and we’ll addd you to the list!

A talk with James Tager, HLS ’13, PEN America
Friday, September  28
WCC 1010
Co-sponsors: the HLS ACS and the Harvard Federalist Society

Last but not least, we’re so excited to welcome James Tager, HLS ’13, back to campus. James is Deputy Director, Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America, and he’ll speak about contemporary issues related to banning books.

No RSVP necessary; lunch is available first come, first served!

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite banned book? Share it with us in the comments!

 

 

Book Talk: Cass Sunstein’s The Cost-Benefit Revolution, Thursday, October 4 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of The Cost-Benefit Revolution by Cass R. Sunstein (MIT Press, August 28, 2018).  Professor Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University.

Thursday, October 4, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

The Cost-Benefit Revolution Poster

About The Cost-Benefit Revolution

“Opinions on government policies vary widely. Some people feel passionately about the child obesity epidemic and support government regulation of sugary drinks. Others argue that people should be able to eat and drink whatever they like. Some people are alarmed about climate change and favor aggressive government intervention. Others don’t feel the need for any sort of climate regulation. In The Cost-Benefit Revolution, Cass Sunstein argues our major disagreements really involve facts, not values. It follows that government policy should not be based on public opinion, intuitions, or pressure from interest groups, but on numbers—meaning careful consideration of costs and benefits. Will a policy save one life, or one thousand lives? Will it impose costs on consumers, and if so, will the costs be high or negligible? Will it hurt workers and small businesses, and, if so, precisely how much?

As the Obama administration’s “regulatory czar,” Sunstein knows his subject in both theory and practice. Drawing on behavioral economics and his well-known emphasis on “nudging,” he celebrates the cost-benefit revolution in policy making, tracing its defining moments in the Reagan, Clinton, and Obama administrations (and pondering its uncertain future in the Trump administration). He acknowledges that public officials often lack information about costs and benefits, and outlines state-of-the-art techniques for acquiring that information. Policies should make people’s lives better. Quantitative cost-benefit analysis, Sunstein argues, is the best available method for making this happen—even if, in the future, new measures of human well-being, also explored in this book, may be better still.” — MIT Press

More About The Cost-Benefit Revolution

“Only Cass Sunstein could present cost-benefit analysis as a prism for understanding democracy, an exciting research frontier, and a route to a better world. The world will be a better place if the next president of the United States thinks hard about this important book.” — Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University

“Cost-benefit analysis may not have all the answers, but Cass Sunstein’s eminently readable The Cost-Benefit Revolution addresses all the right questions. No one in America has thought more deeply about the strengths, weaknesses, and underpinnings of cost-benefit analysis from both a theoretical and practical level than Cass Sunstein. This book will surely pass your personal cost-benefit test.” — Alan Krueger, Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

“Cass Sunstein’s enlightening volume makes a compelling case that systematic assessments of benefits and costs should become even more ingrained in government policymaking. In addition to drawing on his substantial regulatory expertise, Sunstein deftly explores novel policy terrain ranging from national security to free speech.” — W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor, Vanderbilt University; author of Pricing Lives: Guideposts for a Safer Society and Economics of Regulation and Antitrust

“Sunstein has been leading the cost-benefit revolution, and here he explains how it is making the world a better place. If that weren’t enough, this must-read lets readers into one of the world’s most important minds.” — Michael Greenstone, Milton Friedman Professor of Economics, University of Chicago

Book Talk: Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?, Wednesday, October 3 at noon

The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and discussion in celebration of the recent publication of Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? edited by Mark A. Graber, Sanford Levinson and Mark Tushnet (Oxford Univ. Press, Sept. 20, 2018). Mark Tushnet is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Sanford Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  Professors Tushnet and Levinson will be joined in discussion by Vicki C. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School; Steven R. Levitsky, Harvard University Professor of Government; and Katharine Young, Associate Professor at Boston College Law School.

Copies of Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? will be available for sale courtesy of the Harvard Law School COOP and Professors Levinson and Tushnet will be available for signing books at the end of the talk.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at noon
Harvard Law School WCC Milstein West B (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
No RSVP required

Poster Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?

About Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?

“Is the world facing a serious threat to the protection of constitutional democracy?

There is a genuine debate about the meaning of the various political events that have, for many scholars and observers, generated a feeling of deep foreboding about our collective futures all over the world. Do these events represent simply the normal ebb and flow of political possibilities, or do they instead portend a more permanent move away from constitutional democracy that had been thought triumphant after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989?

Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? addresses these questions head-on: Are the forces weakening constitutional democracy around the world general or nation-specific? Why have some major democracies seemingly not experienced these problems? How can we as scholars and citizens think clearly about the ideas of “constitutional crisis” or “constitutional degeneration”? What are the impacts of forces such as globalization, immigration, income inequality, populism, nationalism, religious sectarianism?

Bringing together leading scholars to engage critically with the crises facing constitutional democracies in the 21st century, these essays diagnose the causes of the present afflictions in regimes, regions, and across the globe, believing at this stage that diagnosis is of central importance – as Abraham Lincoln said in his “House Divided” speech, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”” — Oxford University Press

Mark Tushnet

 

 

 

Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Sanford Levinson

 

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

 

Vicki Jackson

 

 

Vicki C. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School

 

Steve Levitsky

 

 

 

Steven R. Levitsky, Harvard University Professor of Government

Katharine Young

 

 

 

Katharine Young, Associate Professor at Boston College Law School

 

More About Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?

“Many are convinced that liberal constitutional democracy is in the midst of a severe crisis, and is being replaced by illiberal constitutional democracy. This important book analyses the reasons for this development, both at the global level and at the national level. It presents original and illuminating answers to the question, ‘Why is this shift occurring?’ This scholarly foundation is necessary for finding answers to the question of how this trend can be reversed. The time is right for this book to be published by its first-class authors, and it provides the intellectual foundations necessary for each of us to cope with the changes that are occurring in our own constitutional democracies, and to try to turn the tide. For me, as a retired judge, the book provides food for thought about where we went wrong, and what we can do to take us in a new direction.” — Aharon Barak, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel; Professor of Law at IDC Herzliya

“Constitutional democracies around the world are suffering assaults from within. Globally, political freedoms are becoming weaker. Democracy does not necessarily guarantee prosperity. This book provides a superb appraisal of democracy’s current crisis. Those who wish to learn about what is happening to constitutional democracies around the world should read this groundbreaking, multiperspective, and transdisciplinary book.” — Sabino Cassese, Emeritus Justice, Italian Constitutional Court; Emeritus Professor, University of Rome

“To question the current health of constitutional democracy is implicitly to affirm that there are more chapters to be written before we arrive at the end of history. Fortunately, we now have the exquisitely crafted chapters in this unique collection of essays to help us make sense of our current predicament. Written against the backdrop of a multitude of ominous developments that have shaken confidence in the stability and endurance of liberal democratic institutions, the contributors to this timely volume explore this portentous moment from all angles, leaving the reader richly informed, if not sanguine, about future prospects. A careful reading will, however, not end in despair, for as the most disturbing threats to political freedom and economic justice emanate from within, the challenge that they represent can also be met from within.” — Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn, H. Malcolm Macdonald Professor of Constitutional and Comparative Law, University of Texas at Austin

“This book is an indispensable resource for understanding the rise of illiberal populisms and the possibilities for sustaining constitutionalism and democracy. Contributors include leading global scholars of comparative constitutional law, whose chapters provide a diverse empirical base from countries around the world with which to evaluate constitutional democracy and its contemporary challenges and competitors. Theories are tested, data provided, and new concepts advanced – addressing, among other topics, the role of political parties, political leaders, religion, economic inequality, race, ethnicity, and immigration – in a set of readable and relatively short chapters that, as much as any edited scholarly collection could be, is a true “page-turner”, hard to stop reading once one starts.” — Vicki C. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

“This rigorous, wide-ranging, and engaging volume is an indispensable guide to the current crisis of constitutional democracy. The volume’s theoretical essays raise profound new questions about the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy. Its high quality empirical chapters help us understand the global reach and historical roots of the current crisis. This is a landmark book for our troubled times.” — Pratap B. Mehta, Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University; past President, Centre for Policy Research

“At the end of the 20th century, constitutional democracy had gained almost universal acceptance. At least, so it seemed. A decade later, we see constitutional democracy declining or mutating into more authoritarian forms of government in a number of countries. In this timely book, more than forty outstanding authors from many parts of the world offer a comprehensive analysis of this development and its causes, which should be of paramount interest not only to scholars and students of law and politics, but to everyone concerned about public affairs.” — Dieter Grimm, Former Justice, Federal Constitutional Court of Germany; Professor of Law, Humboldt University Berlin

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