Home Alumni Drake Law hosts Supreme Court Celebration; symposium on “Debating the Living Constitution”

Drake Law hosts Supreme Court Celebration; symposium on “Debating the Living Constitution”

Since it’s ratification more than 220 years ago, the U.S. Constitution has been a subject of spirited debate among legal analysts. This debate continued as scholars from around the country gathered on April 2 for Drake Law School’s annual Constitutional Law Symposium.

Drake Law School’s annual Constitutional Law Symposium is an opportunity to explore a timely constitutional issue.

The symposium, hosted annually by Drake Law School, brings together a prominent array of constitutional scholars, civil libertarians, policy analysts, lawyers and judges to explore a timely constitutional issue. The proceedings are published in the Drake Law Review. The topic of discussion this year was whether the Constitution should be interpreted as a living document or whether it should be strictly interpreted as it was originally written.

David Strauss, the Gerald Ratner distinguished service professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School and author of “The Living Constitution,” argued that the Constitution should be interpreted as a living document using the techniques of the common law.

Several other well-respected legal experts participated in the debate, including Keith Whittington, the William Nelson Cromwell professor of politics at Princeton University; Rebecca Brown, the Newton professor of constitutional law at the University of Southern California School of Law; and Wil Waluchow, the Senator William McMaster chair in constitutional studies at McMaster University.

“Being able to draw nationally known scholars of this caliber is a tremendous benefit for all the attendees,” says Drake Law Dean Allan Vestal. “Not only does the dialog during the program stimulate insightful questions, but it also prompts continuing discussions and thought. The scholarship resulting from the symposia is remarkable. Thanks to the Belin McCormick Law Firm, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the symposium.”

Supreme Court Celebration gives students the chance to breakfast with Iowa Supreme Court Justices, observe oral arguments

Drake Law School hosted the Iowa Supreme Court as justices heard oral arguments in two cases as part of the Law School’s 74th Annual Supreme Court Celebration. The celebration is held annually to help law students become more familiar with appellate court procedure and arguments, and to honor the Iowa Supreme Court for its commitment to justice and legal education. View a photo gallery of the 2011 Supreme Court Celebration.

This year, students were present to witness oral arguments made before the justices in two cases presented in the courtroom of Drake’s Neal and Bea Smith Law Center. Justices also mingled with students over breakfast in the morning and engaged students in a question-and-answer session following the arguments.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to see our Supreme Court in action,” said Matt Jarvey, a first-year law student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “I also enjoyed meeting with one of the justices over breakfast and learning from them in a less formal setting.”

The three-day event, which included celebrations to acknowledge the work of students involved with the Journal of Agricultural Law, Law Review and the Moot Court program, culminated with the Supreme Court Banquet and Awards Ceremony in Olmsted Center on the Drake Campus on March 26. William Robinson III, president elect of the American Bar Association, presented the keynote lecture at the event, which also featured awards bestowed upon Drake Law alumni and current students.

Chief Justice Mark S. Cady, LA’75, LW’78, was honored at the banquet as the Drake Law Alumni of the Year, and third-year student Gavin Quill received the first annual K.M. Waggoner Peer Mentoring Award made possible by Phil DeKoster, LW’10.

Law student Katherine Carlucci poses with Drake Law Dean Allan Vestal at the Supreme Court Celebration.


A complete list of this year’s honorees can be viewed at www.law.drake.edu.