Friday, March 16, 2018

National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars

Stephen Griffin

Inspired by Larry Solum's efforts at live blogging scholarly conferences, I am in Tucson at the inaugural meeting of the National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars.  This is a very good idea put together jointly by Andrew Coan (Arizona), David Schwartz (Wisconsin), and Brad Snyder (Georgetown) and funded by the University of Arizona's Rehnquist Center.  The papers I mention are available (I assume) from Andrew.  It's a great conference, with an interesting mix of scholars at different stages of their careers.  I was just listening to Aziz Huq presenting a paper on "Apparent Fault," followed by Victoria Nourse talking up a terrific paper, "Reclaiming the Constitutional Text from Originalism."  It's part of a book she is working on which I can't wait to read.  Jamal Greene is commenting.

Previously this morning, we heard a wonderful set of papers on the political process, including Tabatha Abu El-Haj's "Networking the Party," on thinking about political parties as associations, Aaron Tang rethinking how notions of political power are factored into judicial review, and Franita Tolson on how the elections clause relates to Shelby County.  Other presenters and papers included Deborah Pearlstein's "Executive Noncompliance and the Effectiveness of Legal Constraint,"  Jeffrey Schmitt on the public land clause and an excellent panel on the related ideas of animus, dignity, and special legislation featuring William Araiza, Luke Boso, and Evan Zoldan.

Just an excellent conference that amounts to a much-needed professional reaffirmation of the project of doing constitutional law and theory at this difficult time in our nation's history.

Other notable papers being presented today include Shalev Roisman on "Presidential Factfinding" (really interesting topic); Rebecca Aviel on "Revisionist Rights Talk"; Yvonne Lindgren's "Scapegoating Abortion Rights" and Yxta Murray on "The Takings Clause of Boyle Heights."  Richard Primus continues his inquiry into the enumerated powers doctrine by looking closely at the original debate over the national bank in Congress in relation to the development of Madison's views; Christopher Schmidt is currently presenting on "Section 5's Forgotten Years" (very interesting paper) and David Schwartz follows with "The Strange History of Implied Commerce Powers."  Ilan Wurman continues his intervention into originalist theory with "Constitutional Primary and Secondary Rules."  My own contribution, which I hope to post soon on SSRN, is "Presidential Impeachment in Partisan Times: The Historical Logic of Informal Constitutional Change."  Lots of great work going on advancing our understanding of the Constitution.

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