Home Law School News Drake’s Constitutional Law Symposium to cover political dysfunction

Drake’s Constitutional Law Symposium to cover political dysfunction

The Drake University Constitutional Law Center will again host the Constitutional Law Symposium, with the support of Belin McCormick Law Firm, P.C. This year’s symposium features some of the political world’s most prominent authors and speakers. The topic, “The U.S. Constitution and Political Dysfunction: Is There a Connection?” could not come at a better time.

The symposium will examine the connection between the U.S. Constitution and possible dysfunction, as well as potential solutions to the situation. Many Americans believe that the national political system is broken. Public opinion polls show Congressional approval hovering around 10%. National problems have become increasingly intractable as Republicans and Democrats fight over the so called fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling crisis, the judicial confirmation process, a filibuster proof Senate, and an epidemic of partisan gerrymandering, among other issues.

Mark Kende, Professor of Law, James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law, and Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center says, “There is a perception that our national political system is in gridlock. This has serious consequences for our well-being as a people. This event will examine how our constitution relates to this problem.”

Norman Ornstein

Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, will cover, “Why ‘It’s Even Worse Than It Looks:’ Parliamentary Parties in the American Constitutional System.” In addition to being the author of the New York Times bestseller, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism (with Tom Mann), Ornstein also writes a weekly column for Roll Call called “Congress Inside Out,” serves as co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project, and is a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Ornstein was also cited as one of 2012’s 100 top global thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine, and has been a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air.

Sanford Levinson

Sanford V. Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School will also offer his insights. His topic is “If the Constitution should receive any credit for what has gone right in American history, then why isn’t it to blame for at least some of what has gone wrong? The fallacy of asymmetric evaluation.” Levinson is the author of many articles and books on various facets of American constitutional law, including Constitutional Faith (2d ed. 2011), Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It) (2006) and Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance (2012), which has received a lot of recent press.

The symposium also includes a number of other nationally known constitutional law scholars and practitioners: Richard Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California – Irvine School of Law; John McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law, Northwestern University School of Law and Visiting Legal Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Lori Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law; and Brenna Findlay, Legal Counsel to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

More information on each of the speakers can be found at www.law.drake.edu/academics/conLaw/.

The 2013 Constitutional Law Symposium will be held at Drake Law School, Cartwright Hall, Room 213 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Registration is limited and costs $10 per person (free for Drake affiliated individuals and Belin affiliated individuals), which covers the Symposium and a continental breakfast. For an additional $10, attendees can receive a copy of the Drake Law Review that includes the Symposium proceedings.

For interest in contacting a speaker, call or email Terri Howard, Theresa.howard@drake.edu or 515-271-2988.


Belin McCormick, P.C.