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2013 William Howard Taft Lecture on Constitutional Law


Date:  Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Time:  12:15pm – 1:15pm

Place:  Room 114

Title:  Constitutional Fundamentalism and the Power of the President:  The Battle Over Recess Appointments

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Application for 1 hour of general CLE has been submitted to Ohio and Kentucky, and approval is expected.

View Webcast2013 Taft Lecture

Presenter:  David A. Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School

During his lecture, Professor Strauss will discuss the premise that if Presidents have, historically, exercised their power in a certain way, is that a good reason to interpret the Constitution to say that they can continue using that power? Or should a court's understanding of the words and original meaning of the Constitution trump history? That important question about the power of the modern Presidency is sharply posed by a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ̶ now being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court ̶ that cut back sharply on the President's power to make appointments when the Senate is not in session.

David Strauss graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude in 1973. He then spent two years at Magdalen College, Oxford, on Marshall Scholarship and received a B.Phil. in politics from Oxford in 1975. In 1978, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was Developments Editor of the Law Review. Before joining the faculty, he worked as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice and as an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States.

Professor Strauss joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School in 1985. He has published articles on a variety of subjects, principally in constitutional law and related areas, and recently published The Living Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2010). He is, with Geoffrey Stone and Dennis Hutchinson, editor of the Supreme Court Review. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Georgetown, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Strauss has argued eighteen cases before the United States Supreme Court. In 1990, he served as Special Counsel to the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. He is a member of the national Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society. He has also served Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Chicago Council of Lawyers. In addition to his current teaching interests ̶ Constitutional Law, Federal Jurisdiction, Elements of the Law, and Administrative Law ̶ he has taught Civil Procedure and Torts.

During his lecture, Professor Strauss will discuss the premise that if Presidents have, historically, exercised their power in a certain way, is that a good reason to interpret the Constitution to say that they can continue using that power? Or should a court's understanding of the words and original meaning of the Constitution trump history? That important question about the power of the modern Presidency is sharply posed by a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ̶ now being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court ̶ that cut back sharply on the President's power to make appointments when the Senate is not in session.