The Contributions of William H. Rehnquist to American Constitutional Jurisprudence

A Conference

Date: 
Thu, 02/07/2008 to Fri, 02/08/2008
Location: 
9 AM - 5 PM, Dodds Auditorium

This conference is intended to honor the memory and the public service of William H. Rehnquist by bringing together a distinguished group of legal scholars to examine and evaluate his work as a constitutional jurist. William H. Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by Richard Nixon in 1971 and was elevated by Ronald Reagan in 1986 to the office of Chief Justice of the United States. Rehnquist's long and influential tenure on the nation’s highest court ended with his death on September 3, 2005. He is recognized as a vigorous champion of judicial restraint and a strong critic of attempts to understand America's founding document as a “living Constitution" -- that is, a Constitution whose meaning shifts over time by means of judicial rulings. But what was his understanding of the principles and written words of the Constitution, as he applied them in modern circumstances? And how successful was he in persuading his Supreme Court colleagues of the correctness of his constitutional views? As an avenue into assessing the jurisprudential legacy of William Rehnquist, three areas of constitutional interpretation in which he made influential and lasting contributions will be examined -- federalism, constitutional criminal procedure, and the place of religion in our constitutional design. This conference is presented by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and cosponsored by the Program in Law and Public Affairs.

Thursday, February 7

Private dinner for conference participants and guests

Friday, February 8

9:15 – 11:05 AM
Session 1: Federalism as a Constitutional Principle

Presenter
Robert F. Nagel, University of Colorado Law School
Respondents
Charles J. Cooper, Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
R.Shep Melnick, Boston College
Moderator
Keith E. Whittington, Princeton University

11:30 AM -1:20 PM
Session 2: Constitutional Criminal Procedure

Presenter
Stephen F. Smith, University of Virginia School of Law
Respondents
Akhil Reed Amar, Yale College and Yale Law School
Stephen Shulhofer, New York University School of Law
Moderator
Bradford P. Wilson, Princeton University

2:45 - 4:35 PM
Session 3: Religion and the Constitution

Presenter
Richard W. Garnett, University of Notre Dame Law School
Respondents
Donald L. Drakeman, Princeton University
Kent Greenawalt, Columbia University
Moderator
Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University