Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Future of Liberal Democracy

Sandy Levinson

I have been remiss in getting word out on a conference that will take place Thursday-Saturday at the University of Texas Law School on "The Future of Liberal Democracy."  It is co-organized by Richard Albert and myself, though Richard has done the primary work in getting a remarkable array of scholars from around the world who will be discussing the obviously crucial topic.  The conference will begin on Thursday afternoon with a discussion of a book that the University of Chicago Press will be publishing in April, Democracy and Dysfunction, a series of "epistolary exchanges" between Jack and myself,  written in real time between fall 2015 and New Year's 2018 on the dramatic events in American politics (and the American constitutional order) exemplified by Donald Trump's election.  Jack and I were equally appalled, but we offer quite different takes on the classic question "what is to be done?"  Spoiler alert:  I continue to want a new constitutional convention!  New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg will be the third member of the panel, offering her own takes and responses to our arguments. 

All are welcome to attend. There is no registration fee and breakfast and lunch will be available to everyone.  On the assumption that at least some of you cannot drop everything and come to Austin this weekend, I'm glad to say that all of the panels will in reasonably short order be available on line.  You should note as well that one of the panels is honoring the collective work of our colleague Gary Jacobsohn, a truly major figure in the field of comparative constitutional law.

The entire program follows:

The Future of Liberal Democracy

                                              The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Thursday, February 21


3:30pm in the Jamail Pavilion

Welcoming Remarks  (All events in the Eidman Courtroom)

Dean Ward Farnsworth (Texas)
Richard Albert (Texas)

Opening Keynote Conversation on Democracy and Dysfunction

Jack Balkin (Yale) and Sandy Levinson (Texas)
In conversation with Michelle Goldberg (New York Times)

Friday, February 22

Session I: Illiberal Constitutionalism: An Oxymoron?

ChairDaniel Brinks (Texas)
Jan-Werner Müeller (Princeton)
Vlad Perju (Boston College)
Wojciech Sadurski (Sydney)
Kim-Lane Scheppele (Princeton)

Session II: The Erosion of Constraints on Executive Power

ChairZachary Elkins (Texas)
Asli Bâli (UCLA)
Mark Graber (Maryland)
Russell Miller (Washington & Lee)
Miguel Schor (Drake)

Session III: Managing Difference and Diversity

ChairVictor Ferreres Comella (Barcelona and Texas)
Vicki C. Jackson (Harvard)
Ayelet Shachar (Max Planck/Toronto)
Kristen Stilt (Harvard)
Sujit Choudhry (WZB Berlin)

Session IV: Constitutional Identity, a panel in honor of Gary Jacobsohn

ChairJeffrey Tulis (Texas)
Ran Hirschl (Toronto)
Heinz Klug (Wisconsin)
Hanna Lerner (Tel Aviv)
Monika Polzin (Augsburg)
With comments by Gary Jacobsohn (Texas)

Saturday, February 23

Session V: The Trump Phenomenon: American Exceptionalism or a Global Trend?

ChairWilliam Forbath (Texas)
Samuel Issacharoff (NYU)
Scot Peterson (Oxford)
Mark Tushnet (Harvard)
Mila Versteeg (Virginia)

Session VI: Constitutional Replacement by Constitutional Amendment

Chair: Sergio Verdugo (Universidad del Desarrollo – Chile)
Carlos Bernal (Constitutional Court of Colombia)
John Dinan (Wake Forest)
Rosalind Dixon (Australia, University of New South Wales)
Sanford Levinson (Texas)

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