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Stanford Constitutional Law Expert Michael McConnell to Discuss Whatever Happened to Freedom of Association?


Stanford law professor Michael W. McConnell, an expert on freedom of speech and religion, will deliver the 2011 Ralph Gregory Elliot Lecture on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, at Yale Law School. He’ll discuss “Whatever Happened to Freedom of Association?” The lecture takes place at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Alumni Reading Room.

“Not long ago, the right to join with other people of shared beliefs to promote a social, political, or religious objective was highly protected by the First Amendment,” said McConnell. “Last term, the Supreme Court allowed a public university to exclude a student group from campus facilities because, as a Christian group, it demanded that its leaders adhere to a Statement of Faith. What happened?”

Michael McConnell is the Richard & Frances Mallery Professor and Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, as well as Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is a leading authority on freedom of speech and religion, the relation of individual rights to government structure, originalism, and various other aspects of constitutional history and constitutional law. He is author of numerous articles and co-author of two casebooks: The Constitution of the United States and Religion and the Constitution. He is co-editor of Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought.

Before joining Stanford in 2009, he served as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He is the only full-time professor of law in the nation who has previously served as a federal appellate judge. He has argued 13 cases in the United States Supreme Court, most recently Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, in 2010.

Before his appointment to the bench, McConnell was Presidential Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, and prior to that, the William B. Graham Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He was an assistant general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget and an assistant to the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan.

He holds a B.A. from Michigan State University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

The Ralph Gregory Elliot First Amendment Lectureship, funded by a gift from Ralph Gregory Elliot ’61, provides for lectures, preferably on an annual basis, on some aspect of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.