The Constitution in 2020

What should the Constitution look like in the year 2020 and how should it be interpreted?

On October 2-4th, 2009, Yale Law School will hold a conference in honor of the publication of The Constitution in 2020. The book contains 27 short essays by some of the country's leading constitutional and civil rights scholars discussing how the Constitution should be interpreted in the year 2020. The book emphasizes the importance of democratic constitutionalism in which the political branches and ordinary citizens play important roles in defining and enforcing constitutional rights, and in which courts have neither the first nor the last word on the meaning of the Constitution. For a recent account of the book in the New York Times Magazine, see; to review the table of contents and read 10 sample chapters, see

During the October Conference at Yale a group of senior and junior scholars will meet at Yale Law School to explore our constitutional future in areas ranging from foreign policy and national security to social welfare rights, individual freedom, federalism, democracy and voting rights, and theories of constitutional interpretation.  





Conference Schedule

Open a PDF copy of the schedule

All sessions will be held in Room 127, except where indicated

Friday, October 2nd:

2:00 Registration
Room 122

3:00 - 3:15 Welcome
Dean Robert Post

Panel One:
3:15 - 5:15 America and the World

Moderator: Bruce Ackerman, Yale Law School
Commentator: Oona Hathaway, Yale Law School
Panelists: Muneer Ahmad, Yale Law School, Aziz Huq, University of Chicago Law School, Jenny Martinez, Stanford Law School, and Jon Michaels, University of California Law School-Los Angeles

Panel Two:
5:30 – 6:30 Roundtable: About the Constitution in 2020

Moderator: Neil Siegel, Duke Law School
Interviewing: Bruce Ackerman, Yale Law School, Jack Balkin, Yale Law School, Robert Post, Yale Law School, and Reva Siegel, Yale Law School

6:30 – 7:30 Reception
Alumni Reading Room

7:30 Informal Dinner for Students

Saturday, October 3rd:

8:30 Continental Breakfast
Room 122

Panel Three:
9:00 – 10:15 Social Rights

Moderator and Commentator: Vicki Schultz, Yale Law School
Panelists: Risa Goluboff, Virginia Law School, Jacob Hacker, Yale University (Political Science), and Ben Sachs, Harvard Law School

Panel Four:
10:30 – 12:30 Constitutional Theory

Moderator and Commentator: Paul Kahn, Yale Law School
Panelists: Jamal Greene, Columbia Law School, David Law, Washington University School of Law, Sophia Lee, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Richard Primus, University of Michigan Law School

12:45 – 2:15 Lunch
YLS Dining Hall

Panel Five:
2:15 – 4:15 Individual Rights

Moderator: Dan Kahan, Yale Law School
Panelists: Elizabeth Emens, Columbia Law School, Rich Garnett, Notre Dame Law School, Paul Horwitz, University of Alabama School of Law, and Alice Ristroph, Seton Hall University School of Law

Panel Six:
4:30 – 6:30 Localism and Democracy

Moderator: Judith Resnik, Yale Law School
Commentator: Heather Gerken, Yale Law School
Panelists: Ethan Leib, University of California Hastings School of Law, Rich Schragger, University of Virginia School of Law, Ilya Somin, George Mason University School of Law, and Ernie Young, Duke Law School

6:45 Reception and Dinner
Alumni Reading Room and Dining Hall

Sunday, October 4th:

8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
Room 122

9:15 – 9:30 Welcome from ACS
Caroline Fredrickson, Executive Director, ACS National
ACS Yale Law School Chapter

Panel Seven:
9:30 – 11:15 Roundtable: Mobilization

Moderator: William Eskridge, Yale Law School
Panelists: Addisu Demissie, Organizing for America, Marshall Ganz, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, Sam Graham-Felsen, Blue State Digital, Judy Scott, SEIU, and Michael Wishnie, Yale Law School

Panel Eight:
11:30 – 1:15 Roundtable--The Constitution in 2020: Getting There from Here

Moderator: Pam Karlan, Stanford Law School
Panelists: Debo Adegbile, NAACP, Marvin Ammori, Free Press/ University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law, Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice, Robert Gordon, Yale Law School, and Tom Saenz, MALDEF

1:15 Lunch
Alumni Reading Room