The 2015 Charles W. Knowlton Law & Liberal Arts Lecture will be held on Thursday, March 19 at 5 p.m. at the School of Law auditorium. A reception will follow at 6 p.m.
This year's lecture is titled, "Learning from The Federalist," and will be presented by Professor Sandy Levinson. The lecture examines the lessons that 21st century readers might learn from a series of what we today would define as "op-eds" (or even extended blogposts) designed to elicit support for the new U.S. Constitution. Levinson argues that there are some surprising answers, and he will focus particularly on the systematic ambivalence about the priority of fidelity to law in times of emergencies.
Levinson, who holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, joined the University of Texas Law School in 1980. Previously a member of the Department of Politics at Princeton University, he is also a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas. The author of approximately 400 articles, book reviews, or commentaries in professional and popular journals — and a regular contributor to the popular blog Balkinization — Levinson is also the author of five books:
His sixth book, An Argument Open to All: The Federalist in the 21st, is a collection of 85 short essays on each of the 85 Federalist papers and will be published by Yale University Press this fall.
Edited or co-edited books include a leading constitutional law casebook, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (5th ed. 2006, with Paul Brest, Jack Balkin, Akhil Amar, and Reva Siegel); Reading Law and Literature: A Hermeneutic Reader (1988, with Steven Mallioux); Responding to Imperfection: The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Amendment (1995); Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies (1998, with William Eskridge); Legal Canons (2000, with Jack Balkin); The Louisiana Purchase and American Expansion (2005, with Batholomew Sparrow); and Torture: A Collection (2004, revised paperback edition, 2006), which includes reflections on the morality, law, and politics of torture from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, as well as a forthcoming volume of essays to be published by the University of Kansas Press on "neo-nullificationism and -secessionism" in contemporary political and constitutional thought.
Levinson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association in 2010. He has been a visiting faculty member of the Boston University, Georgetown, Harvard, New York University, and Yale law schools in the United States and has taught abroad in programs of law in London; Paris; Jerusalem; Auckland, New Zealand; and Melbourne, Australia. He was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1985–86 and a Member of the Ethics in the Professions Program at Harvard in 1991–92. He is also affiliated with the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish Philosophy in Jerusalem. A member of the American Law Institute, Levinson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001. He is married to Cynthia Y. Levinson, a writer of children's literature, and has two children, Meira, a member of the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (after teaching in the Atlanta and Boston public school systems), and Rachel, a lawyer with the Brennan Center in Washington, D.C.