2007 Annual Student Symposium - "Law & Morality"

Northwestern University School of Law

In June 2003, the United States Supreme Court struck down Texas’s anti-sodomy statute as a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, reversing the 17-year-old precedent of Bowers v. Hardwick.  In this watershed decision, both Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion and Justice O’Connor’s concurrence appear to adopt the broad principle that the moral viewpoint of the majority provides an insufficient and even irrational basis to uphold a law.  In dissent, Justice Scalia disagreed.  But who is right?

The question of the role of morality in the law is no longer solely a question for legal academics and philosophers; it is now broadcast on our nightly news.  With emotions running high and advocacy groups spending millions to mobilize their infantries in the so-called “culture wars,” the questions surrounding morality’s role in the law have assumed a central position within the national dialogue.  And this debate extends far beyond Lawrence and the same-sex marriage controversy.

Northwestern University School of Law and its Federalist Society chapter are honored to be hosting the 2007 Student Symposium.  This year is especially significant to the Federalist Society as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the organization.  If you have attended the Federalist Society symposia in the past, you undoubtedly have come to expect the highest level of respectful debate in any area of the law.  This weekend we hope you, as before, engage each panel by asking insightful questions and debate with each other what you learn throughout the weekend.  Thank you for joining us for what is bound to be an exciting weekend of exploring the many intersections between law and morality.

–Symposium Committee, Northwestern University School of Law Federalist Society

Friday, February 23 

5:45 p.m.
Opening Remarks - Audio/Video

  • Prof. Steven Calabresi, Northwestern University
  • Mr. Dennis Murashko, Northwestern Law School Student Chapter President

6:00 p.m.

Religion in the Public Square - Audio/Video

  • Mr. Kevin J. Hasson, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • Rev. Dr. Michael Newdow, Restore our Pledge of Allegiance
  • Moderator: Hon. David McIntosh, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw

7:30 p.m.

What is Morality? The Philosophical and Theological Foundations of Moral Debate - Audio/Video

  • Prof. John S. Baker, Jr., Louisiana State University
  • Prof. Randy E. Barnett, Georgetown University
  • Prof. Robert Burns, Northwestern University
  • Prof. Michael J. Perry, Emory University
  • Moderator: Prof. Richard Garnett, University of Chicago

Saturday, February 24

9:00 a.m.

Moral Choices and the Eighth Amendment - Audio/Video

  • Prof. Ron Allen, Northwestern University
  • Prof. Michael S. Moore, University of Illinois
  • Prof. Laurence P. Claus, University of San Diego
  • Moderator: Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

11:00 a.m.

Same-Sex Marriage: Marriage, Public Policy, and the Constitution - Audio/Video

  • Prof. Louis Michael Seidman, Georgetown University
  • Prof. Amy Wax, University of Pennsylvania
  • Moderator: Judge Diane S. Sykes, United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

2:00 p.m.

Government Promotion of Moral Issues - Audio/Video

  • Prof. Lillian R. BeVier, University of Virginia
  • Prof. G. Marcus Cole, Stanford University
  • Prof. Lino A. Graglia, University of Texas
  • Prof. Steven Lubet, Northwestern University 
  • Moderator: Prof. Steven Calabresi, Northwestern University

4:00 p.m.

Morality of First Amendment Jurisprudence - Audio/Video

  • Prof. Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern University
  • Prof. John McGinnis, Northwestern University
  • Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum
  • Prof. Geoffrey Stone, University of Chicago
  • Moderator: Prof. Orin Kerr, George Washington University

7:00 p.m.
Banquet, Presentation of Bator Award, and Keynote Speaker

Bator Award Presentation - Audio/Video

  • Prof. Orin Kerr, George Washington University
  • Introduced by: Mr. William Rothwell, University of Chicago Law School Student Chapter

Keynote Speaker - Audio/Video

  • Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Introduced by: Mr. Eugene B. Meyer, President of the Federalist Society

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