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2020 Federalist Society Student Symposium (Video)
Michael Ramsey

Here is the video for the Federalist Society's Annual Student Symposium, held (virtually) on March 14, 2020 (congratulations to the University of Michigan chapter for hosting).

And here is the schedule: 

Symposium: The Structural Constitution in the 21st Century

Panel I: The Compact Clause

The Compact Clause has received extra attention recently because of the Electoral College and the proposed state compact concerning the popular vote, but that is far from the only use of the compact clause. There are currently 200 active interstate compacts ranging from the significant to the almost trivial. The environment, metropolitan transportation authorities, and waterways are a few major areas where compacts are frequent. What can compacts properly cover? When are they constitutionally forbidden? When permitted, when do they promote good public policy, and what are the dangers posed by their use?

  • Prof. Michael S. Greve, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Prof. Roderick M. Hills, Jr., William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
  • Prof. Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Moderator: Mr. Eugene B. Meyer, President and CEO, The Federalist Society

Panel II: The Proper Role of the Senate

Much has changed concerning the Senate since the adoption of the Constitution. It is now directly elected. The nature of its power has changed with the passage of the 16th Amendment.  And its unique role in confirmations and treaties and the nature of its role protecting smaller states all have undergone much discussion. The Senate has always played a key role in balancing purely democratic power. It has also protected the states and possibly served to defuse otherwise hostile geographical battles. Does or should this role change in our modern democracy? If so, how?

  • Prof. Lynn A. Baker, Frederick M. Baron Chair in Law and Co-Director of the Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice and the Media, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Prof. Sanford V. Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Ms. Amanda Neely, General Counsel, Office of Senator Rob Portman
  • Prof. John Yoo, Emanuel Heller Professor of Law and director of the Korea Law Center, University of California at Berkeley School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Raymond M. Kethledge, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circui

Keynote Address by Hon. Paul D. Clement

Panel III: Do Changing Norms Undermine Support for Our System of Government?

Norms range from having quasi-constitutional force to simply being generally accepted modes of conduct that are more easily broken. Such norms include: The Supreme Court has nine members; Congress invites the President for the State of the Union message; the Senate acts on nominees; children are left alone in political campaigns; and the press ignores old sexual peccadilloes. In the area of congressional action, major new legislation historically required bipartisan support, but this did not occur with the Affordable Care Act. There are now battles over recess appointments for political purposes as opposed to the practical purpose of filling positions when Congress is in recess. Is there generally less self-restraint and more willingness to achieve short-term goals by whatever means with less respect for process? If so, does that pose a serious threat to our Constitution, and what might be done about it?

  • Prof. David E. Bernstein, University Professor and the Executive Director, Liberty & Law Center, Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Dean Vikram D. Amar, Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law
  • Prof. Keith E. Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University
  • Dean Evan H. Caminker, Dean Emeritus and Branch Rickey Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
  • Moderator: Hon. Chad A. Readler, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

Panel IV: Originalism and Interstate Relations

The Constitution famously says very little about interstate relations. Writing for the Court in Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt, Justice Thomas suggested that the Constitution “reflects implicit alterations to the States’ relationships with each other, confirming that they are no longer fully independent nations.” How much of the law of interstate relations is truly settled by the Constitution? As for the rest, what kind of law governs instead? Is it federal or state, general or international, written or unwritten? And what does it provide?

This panel examines what originalism has to say, if anything, about questions of “horizontal federalism”—such as personal jurisdiction, choice of law, full faith and credit, extraterritorial regulation, state borders, sovereign immunity, and other areas of interstate dispute. How did the Founders understand these questions, either before the Constitution or after? What duties do the fifty states owe one another? And what are the roles of Congress and the courts in determining the answers?

  • Prof. William P. Baude, Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar, University of Chicago Law School
  • Prof. Douglas Laycock, Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Prof. Stephen E. Sachs, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. David R. Stras, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Presentation of the Annual Joseph Story Award

Prof. Stephen E. Sachs, Duke University School of Law, gives remarks upon accepting the Joseph Story Award.

(Via Will Baude at Volokh Conspiracy, who excerpts some of Professor Sachs' remarks).