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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Panel Discussion: Fidelity and Change in Constitutional Interpretation

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Panel Discussion: Fidelity and Change in Constitutional Interpretation

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
5:00 p.m.

Barat House, Boston College Law School


  • Jack Balkin, Yale University
  • Katharine Young, Boston College
  • James Fleming, Boston University
  • Lawrence Solum, Georgetown University 

This event is free and open to the public.

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about the speakers


Jack Balkin

Jack Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School and the founder and director of Yale's Information Society Project, an interdisciplinary center that studies law and new information technologies, as well as the director of the Knight Law and Media Program and the Abrams Institute for Free Expression at Yale. Professor Balkin received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Cambridge University, and his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Harvard University. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and founded and edits the group blog Balkinization. His books include Living OriginalismConstitutional Redemption: Political Faith in an Unjust WorldThe Constitution in 2020 (with Reva Siegel); Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (5th ed. with Brest, Levinson, Amar, and Siegel); Cultural Software: A Theory of IdeologyThe Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of LifeWhat Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said; and What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said.


Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Katharine Young joined the faculty as Associate Professor in July 2013. Before coming to Boston College, she was an Associate Professor at the Australian National University, and has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Boston University and a Byse Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School. Her fields of expertise are economic and social rights, comparative constitutional law and international human rights law.

Professor Young’s recent book, Constituting Economic and Social Rights (OUP, 2012), is published in the Oxford Constitutional Theory series. Other recent publications appear in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, the Harvard Law Review Forum, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Australian Year Book of International Law, and the Yale Journal of International Law.

Professor Young completed doctoral and masters studies in law (the S.J.D. and LL.M.) at Harvard Law School and legal studies at Melbourne University and at the University of Heidelberg. She has been a Fellow at Harvard University’s Project on Justice, Welfare and Economics, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Professor Young has professional legal experience in Melbourne, New York, in the United Nations and in an NGO in Accra, Ghana. She served as Clerk for The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG at the High Court of Australia. At Boston College, she teaches Contracts and Human Rights and Global Poverty.


James E. Fleming

James Fleming received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. He practiced litigation at Cravath, Swaine & Moore before becoming a law professor. During the 1999-2000 year, he was a Faculty Fellow in Ethics in the Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions.

Since coming to Boston University School of Law in 2007, Professor Fleming has organized conferences entitled The Most Disparaged Branch: The Role of Congress in the 21st Century, Justice for Hedgehogs: A Conference on Ronald Dworkin's Forthcoming Book, Justice: What's the Right Thing To Do? A Symposium on Michael Sandel's Recent Book, Originalism and Living Constitutionalism and On Constitutional Obligation and Disobedience. He is organizing a major conference tentatively entitled "America's Political Dysfunction: Constitutional Connections, Causes, and Cures," to be held at Boston University in November 2013. All have been (or will be) published in Boston University Law Review. He is Faculty Advisor to Boston University Law Review.

Before joining the faculty of Boston University School of Law, Fleming was the Leonard F. Manning Distinguished Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law. While at Fordham, he organized or co-organized many conferences in constitutional theory, including Fidelity in Constitutional Theory, The Constitution and the Good Society, Rawls and the Law and A New Constitutional Order?, together with Theories of Constitutional Self-Government, Integrity in the Law and Theories of Taking the Constitution Seriously Outside the Courts, all published in Fordham Law Review. He also co-edited (with BU Law Professor Linda C. McClain) a symposium on Legal and Constitutional Implications of the Calls to Revive Civil Society, published in Chicago-Kent Law Review. In 2007, Fordham Law Review published a symposium on Minimalism versus Perfectionism in Constitutional Theory, focusing on Professor Fleming's book,Securing Constitutional Democracy, along with Cass R. Sunstein's book, Radicals in Robes.


Lawrence Solum

Lawrence Solum is an internationally recognized legal theorist, who works in constitutional theory, procedure, and the philosophy of law.  Professor Solum received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and received his B.A. with highest departmental honors in philosophy from the University of California at Los Angeles. While at Harvard, he served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation, he worked for the law firm of Cravath, Swaine, and Moore in New York, and then clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Solum was the John E. Cribbet Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois.   He was a member of the law faculty of the University of San Diego, where he received the Thornes Prize as Best Teacher. He also taught at Loyola Marymount University and has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Boston University, at the University of Southern California, and, before joining the faculty, at Georgetown Law.

Professor Solum served as a White Paper Author for the Committee on Alternative Court Structures of the Commission on the Future of the California Judiciary, and he has also served the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) twice as Chair of the Jurisprudence Section, as Chair of the Section on Constitutional Law, as Chair of the Section on Law and Interpretation, as Chair of the Committee on Scholarship, and as a Member of the Committee to Review Scholarly Papers.