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YLS and ACS Conference to Articulate Progressive Vision of the Constitution, Apr. 8-10

Launch of an Effort to Reclaim the Constitution

Members of the legal academy, leaders of progressive organizations, practitioners and policymakers from across America will come together for "The Constitution in 2020," a conference at Yale Law School providing an opportunity for participants to articulate progressive constitutional values for the 21st century. The three day conference, April 8-10, 2005, is sponsored by the American Constitution Society and its Yale Law School chapter, the Open Society Institute, the Center for American Progress, and the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School. This conference is an important component of ACS's recently announced initiative, The Constitution in the 21st Century, a multi-year project to formulate and advance a progressive constitutional vision that is intellectually sound, practically relevant and faithful to our constitutional values and heritage.

"We are bringing together scholars, practicing lawyers, judges and policymakers to structure a progressive vision for our society in the year 2020 and beyond," said Reva Siegel, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law and faculty chair for the conference. "Our purpose is to imagine what a better world could look like and think practically about how to make it a reality."

In the late 1980s, the Department of Justice issued a series of reports, one of which was named "The Constitution in 2000," that set forth a constitutional vision for the future. "The Constitution in 2020 conference is the first step in a long-range effort to shape an affirmative progressive vision and reclaim the Constitution," added Professor Siegel.

"Law students around the country are particularly energized about this project because it will be the responsibility of our generation of progressives to implement our vision for the future," said Seth Grossman, YLS '05, one of the student co-chairs.

Distinguished conference participants include Judge Guido Calabresi and former Judge Patricia Wald, former Solicitors General Drew Days and Seth Waxman, former Dean of Stanford Law School Kathleen Sullivan, ACS Executive Director Lisa Brown, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress John Podesta, and leading constitutional scholars including Professors Bruce Ackerman and Cass Sunstein.

Panels and break-out groups will discuss issues including the challenges of terrorism and globalization, defining constitutional protections for individuals and groups, new threats to the democratic process, and social and economic inequality.

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy is one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations. Founded in 2001, ACS is composed of law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, policymakers, activists and other concerned individuals who are working to ensure that the fundamental principles of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality and access to justice are in their rightful, central place in American law.

"This conference provides an extraordinary opportunity to engage and energize members of the moderate and progressive legal community as we begin a concerted effort to reclaim the Constitution and ensure that our laws and public policy reflect our nation's founding values," said ACS Executive Director Lisa Brown.

Pre-registration is required for all attendees, including members of the media, at www.law.yale.edu/acs/conference/registration/. The event is free for students and for members of the Yale Community. There is a $15 registration fee for other attendees.

A full conference schedule and speakers information is available at www.law.yale.edu/acs/conference/schedule/.

Discussion has already begun on the conference weblog, available at constitutionin2020.blogspot.com/.