History of Law

2014 National Lawyers Convention Opening with Justice Scalia - Event Video

2014 National Lawyers Convention
Antonin Scalia, Leonard A. Leo November 13, 2014

United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia opened the 2014 National Lawyers Convention on November 13 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Justice Scalia discussed the importance of Magna Carta.


  • Hon. Antonin Scalia, United States Supreme Court
  • Introduction: Mr. Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President, The Federalist Society

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Originalism and the Good Constitution - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
Michael B. Rappaport, John O. McGinnis, Michael S. Greve March 19, 2014

Originalism and the Good Constitution

Originalism holds that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted according to its meaning at the time it was enacted. In their innovative defense of originalism, John McGinnis and Michael Rappaport maintain that the text of the Constitution should be adhered to by the Supreme Court because it was enacted by supermajorities — both its original enactment under Article VII and subsequent Amendments under Article V. A text approved by supermajorities has special value in a democracy because it has unusually wide support and thus tends to maximize the welfare of the greatest number.

The authors recognize and respond to many possible objections. Does originalism perpetuate the dead hand of the past? How can following the original meaning be justified, given that African Americans and women were excluded from the enactment of the Constitution in 1787 and many of its subsequent Amendments? What is originalism’s place in interpretation of the Constitution, when after two hundred years there is so much non-originalist precedent?

A fascinating counterfactual they pose is this: had the Supreme Court not interpreted the Constitution so freely, perhaps the nation would have resorted to the Article V amendment process more often and with greater effect. The authors of Originalism and the Good Constitution, Prof. Michael B. Rappaport and Prof. John O. McGinnis, discussed the book along with commentary from Prof. Michael Greve on a live Teleforum conference call.


  • Prof. Michael S. Greve, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Michael B. Rappaport, Darling Foundation Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law
  • Prof. John O. McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law, Northwestern University School of Law

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The Conscience of the Constitution - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
Timothy Sandefur, Clark Neily February 07, 2014

The Conscience Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to LibertyIs liberty or democracy the primary constitutional value? At a time when Americans are increasingly facing violations of their civil liberties, Timothy Sandefur's insightful new book explains why the Declaration of Independence, with its doctrines on the primacy of liberty, the natural rights of man, and the limits on legitimate government, should serve as the guidepost for understanding the Constitution. The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty argues that modern legal doctrines, which value democracy over liberty, are endangering individual rights and corrupting our civic institutions. Mr. Sandefur discussed his new book followed by commentary from Mr. Clark Neily of the Institute for Justice.


  • Timothy Sandefur, author, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty, and Principal Attorney, National Litigation Center, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Commentary by: Clark Neily, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice

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Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade - Podcast

Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast
Jeffrey Rosen, Clarke Forsythe January 27, 2014

Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. WadeBased on 20 years of research, including an examination of the papers of eight of the nine Justices who voted in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Abuse of Discretion is a critical review of the behind-the-scenes deliberations that went into the Supreme Court's abortion decisions and how the choices made by the Justices in 1971-1973 have led to the circumstances we see today in legislation, politics, and public health. National Constitution Center President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Rosen interviewed the author, Americans United for Life Senior Counsel Clarke D. Forsythe, and offered his commentary.


  • Clarke D. Forsythe, Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life
  • Commentary by Prof. Jeffrey Rosen, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Constitution Center

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