Special Event

Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School

Fidelity and Flux: How We Build Our Constitution

April 28, 2010, 4:30 PM, Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall

Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, will deliver the Sixth Annual Donald S. Bernstein '75 Lecture.  The title of his talk is "Fidelity and Flux: How We Build Our Constitution."

Professor Balkin argues that when we interpret the U.S. Constitution, the opposition between originalism and living constitutionalism is a false dichotomy; understanding why the best versions of these positions are compatible helps us understand how legitimate constitutional change occurs over time. He also argues that constitutional fidelity is grounded on faith: faith in the constitutional project, and faith that the constitutional system as a whole is worthy of our respect or will come to be so over time, even if important aspects today are imperfect and  unjust. Thus interpretive fidelity requires faith in the redeemability of the Constitution over time.

Join us for what promises to be an enlightening presentation. 

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, and the founder and director of Yale's Information Society Project, an interdisciplinary center that studies law and the new information technologies, as well as the director of the Knight Law and Media Program at Yale. Under his leadership, the Yale Information Society Project has promoted the goals of democratic culture and access to knowledge. His work ranges over many different fields, including constitutional theory, Internet law, freedom of speech, legal rhetoric, jurisprudence, and the theory of ideology. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and writes political and legal commentary at Balkinization ( His books include Processes of Constitutional Decisinmaking (5th ed. with Brest, Levinson, Amar, and Siegel); Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology; The Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of Life; The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (with Beth Noveck); Cybercrime: Digital Cops in a Networked Environment (with James Grimmelmann et. al.); What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said; and What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said. His latest book, co-edited with Reva Siegel, is The Constitution in 2020.

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