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UC Law 2013 Constitution Day Lecture with Professor Marci A. Hamilton


Date: September 17, 2013
Time: 12:15 p.m.
Location: Room 114

(View the Webcast)

Professor Marci A. Hamilton, the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law, Yeshiva University, was the 2013 Constitution Day speaker.

The Most Important Building Block of the United States Constitution: Distrust and Separation

Marci A. Hamilton is one of the United States' leading church/state scholars and holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, where she specializes in church/state issues and the dynamics of child sex abuse in institutional settings.  She is an author, lecturer, and advocate on the protection of the vulnerable from religious institutions.  She is also a national leader for legislative reform for the protection of Children from sex abuse.  During 2012, she was honored as one of Pennsylvania's Women of the Year, and received the National Crime Victim Bar Association's Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award.

Professor Hamilton has testified before numerous state legislatures regarding the elimination of the statutes of limitations for childhood sex abuse.  She is frequently asked to advise Congress and state legislatures on the constitutionality of pending legislation and to consult in cases involving important constitutional issues.  Professor Hamilton clerked for Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School; the Graduate School of Pennsylvania State University; and Vanderbilt University.  She is a member of Phi Beta kappa and Order of the Coif.

In her presentation, The Most Important Building Block of the United States Constitution: Distrust and Separation, Professor Hamilton discussed how the Framers of the United States Constitution shared a key insight that is the building block that has made it as successful as it has been: distrust of anyone holding power.  The Framers' key insighght was that those holding power are always tempted to abuse that power, and that concentrations of power are particularly dangerous.  To avoid tyranny, they implemented devices to separate power, check power, and disable it when it broaches on tyranny.