Tracey Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School, will serve as the 2015 Drake University Constitution Day Lecture speaker. Her speech is titled “Policing in the 21st Century.”
The event, which is sponsored by the Drake Law School Chapter of Order of the Coif and the Drake University Constitutional Law Center, will be held at 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, in Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center. It is free and open to the public. The Drake University Constitution Day Lecture is held each year to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.
Meares is one of the nation’s experts on race relations and law enforcement. Her teaching and research focus on criminal procedure and criminal law policy, and she has written widely on issues such as constitutional criminal procedure, the sociology of the neighborhood structure, and the social psychology of legitimacy in policing.
Meares has been involved in a number of action-oriented research projects in Chicago, California, and New York, focusing on violence reduction through legitimacy-enhancing strategies. In December 2014, President Obama named her as a member of his Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
“Tracey Meares' talk is especially timely given the deadly incidents that have taken place between police and blacks in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere,” said Mark Kende, James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law and director of the Constitutional Law Center.
Meares has a B.S. in general engineering from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Before arriving at Yale, she was Max Pam Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago Law School. She was the first African American woman to be granted tenure at both the University of Chicago and Yale Law School.
In addition, Meares has worked extensively with the federal government, having served on the Committee on Law and Justice, a National Research Council Standing Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. She has also served on two National Research Council Review Committees.
Drake Law School was one of three law schools nationwide selected by the national organization Order of the Coif to host Meares as part of its Distinguished Visitor Program.
“We are honored to be one of the schools that Professor Meares will be visiting,” said David Walker, Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor. “The topics addressed in her lecture—constitutional law and criminal law—are of interest not only to our students and alumni, but the whole community.”
The Order of the Coif is an honorary scholastic society that encourages excellence in legal education and recognizes law students, lawyers, judges, and teachers for their scholarly and professional accomplishments. Membership is selective, and only 40 percent of American Bar Association approved law schools have chapters. Drake Law School has maintained a Coif chapter since 1952.
The Drake Constitutional Law Center is one of only four constitutional law programs established by the U.S. Congress and funded by the federal government. The Center's mission is to foster study of the U.S. Constitution and its roots, formation, principles, and development.