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Professional Responsibility & Legal Education

Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor

Exhibition at the Library of Congress Co-Sponsored by The Federalist Society November 06, 10:00 AMLibrary of Congress
101 Independence Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20540
Magna Carta: Muse & Mentor logo

The Library of Congress will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the first issue of Magna Carta with a 10-week exhibition from Thursday, November 62014 through Monday, January 192015. The 1215 Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta will be the centerpiece of the exhibition. In addition, there will be approximately 75 items from the Law Library of Congress and from various other divisions of the Library, which will tell the story of 800 years of Magna Carta’s influence on the history of political liberty.

The Library’s exhibition will demonstrate how interpretations of Magna Carta through the centuries led to the constitutional guarantees of individual liberty brought forth by the Founding Fathers of the United States. It will describe how a number of the most basic principles of the U.S. Constitution—consent of the governed, the right to a trial by jury, the right to due process of law, freedom from unlawful imprisonment and limited government under the law—can be traced to Magna Carta.

The Library’s exhibition also will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta’s first visit to the Library of Congress.  After a six-month exhibit in the British Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the document traveled to Washington, D.C.  In an official ceremony on November 28, 1939, Lord Lothian, ambassador to the United States handed Magna Carta over to Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish for safekeeping during World War II.  The Library placed the document on exhibition until the U.S. entry into the war, when the Library sent Magna Carta to Fort Knox, Kentucky.  The document returned to England in 1946.

Law Librarian of Congress David S. Mao said, "Through this exhibition we will celebrate the core tradition of the rule of law.  While aiming to detail the enduring impact of Magna Carta over 800 years, our exhibit will illuminate its influence on our legal traditions and political thought while examining the unfolding story of the rule of law throughout the world.  We look forward to taking a leading role in the American commemoration of the 800th anniversary of this legal treasure."

The exhibition curator is Nathan Dorn, rare book curator in the Law Library of Congress, and the exhibition directors are Cheryl Ann Regan and Martha Hopkins from the Library’s Interpretive Programs Office.

Additionally, the Library of Congress curated and provided materials for a facsimile traveling exhibition on Magna Carta for the American Bar Association (ABA). The exhibition opened at the 2014 ABA Annual Meeting in Boston and will travel across the United States for the next few years. In June 2015, the ABA Magna Carta Facsimile Traveling Exhibit will journey to England. For more information on ABA’s Magna Carta commemoration, visit www.facebook.com/abamagnacarta.

October 2014 DC Luncheon with Lynne Cheney

Washington, DC Lawyers Chapter October 02, 12:00 PMTony Cheng's Restaurant
619 H Street, N.W.
(Gallery Place Metro)
Washington, DC 20007
Lynne Cheney

Join us on October 2nd for the Washington, DC Lawyers Chapter Luncheon featuring Mrs. Lynne Cheney, author of James Madison: A Life Reconsidered. The cost is $15 for members of the Society and $20 for non-members. [Register now!]

Law of the Jungle: Chevron in the Amazon - Podcast

Professional Responsibility & Legal Education and Litigation Practice Groups Podcast
Paul M. Barrett, Jack J. Park Jr. September 23, 2014

Steven Donziger, a self-styled social activist and Harvard educated lawyer, signed on to a budding class action lawsuit against multinational Texaco (which later merged with Chevron to become the third-largest corporation in America). The suit sought reparations for the Ecuadorian peasants and tribes people whose lives were affected by decades of oil production near their villages and fields. During twenty years of legal hostilities in federal courts in Manhattan and remote provincial tribunals in the Ecuadorian jungle, Mr. Donziger and Chevron’s lawyers followed fierce no-holds-barred rules. Mr. Donziger proved himself adept at influencing the media, Hollywood, and public opinion. He cajoled and coerced Ecuadorian judges on the theory that his noble ends justified any means of persuasion. And in the end, he won a $19 billion judgment against Chevon – the biggest environmental damages award in history. But the company refused to surrender or compromise. Instead, Chevron targeted Mr. Donziger personally, and its counter-attack revealed evidence of his politicking and manipulation of evidence. Suddenly the verdict, and decades of Mr. Donziger’s single-minded pursuit of the case, began to unravel.

Under Indictment: Governor Rick Perry - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
John S. Baker, Jr. August 28, 2014

The recent indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry has garnered huge press attention. In an unusual alignment, commentators from both the left and the right have been highly critical of the indictment, with the New York Times editorial board calling it “the product of an overzealous prosecution.” But condemnation of the indictment has not been perfectly unanimous, and a few commentators have now come out in support of the indictment. We examined all the details on a Teleforum conference call.

  • Prof. John S. Baker, Jr., Visiting Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, and Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University Law School

Is Administrative Law Unlawful? - Podcast

Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
Adam J. White, Philip A. Hamburger July 03, 2014

Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

In his new book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful?, Professor Philip Hamburger answers the provocative question posed in his title in the affirmative. Rather than accepting administrative law as a novel power necessitated by modern society, he locates its origins in the medieval and early modern English tradition of royal prerogative and traces resistance to administrative law from the Middle Ages to the present. Medieval parliaments periodically tried to confine the Crown to governing through regular law, but the most effective response was the seventeenth-century development of English constitutional law, which concluded that the government could rule only through the law of the land and the courts, not through administrative edicts. Although the United States Constitution pursued this conclusion even more vigorously, administrative power reemerged in the Progressive and New Deal Eras. Since then, Professor Hamburger argues, administrative law has returned American government and society to precisely the sort of consolidated or absolute power that the U.S. Constitution — and constitutions in general — were designed to prevent.

Professor Hamburger joined us on a Teleforum conference call to discuss his new book, with additional commentary from Adam White. Mr. White’s recent review of the book for the Wall Street Journal is available here.

  • Prof. Philip A. Hamburger, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Adam J. White, Counsel, Boyden Gray & Associates