This two-day symposium, chaired by Professor Andrew Coan (University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law) and co-sponsored by Professor David Schwartz (University of Wisconsin Law School), is entitled, "Rationing the Constitution: How Judicial Capacity Shapes Supreme Decision-Making." The Symposium will explore the structural organization of the judiciary, the constraints of the Supreme Court, and the implications on U.S. Constitutional Law. Compared with the vast machinery surrounding Congress and the president, the Supreme Court is a tiny institution that can resolve only a small fraction of the constitutional issues that arise in any given year. Due to the structural organization of the judiciary and certain widely shared professional norms, the capacity of the Supreme Court to review lower-court decisions is severely limited. In deciding cases, the Court must therefore not invite more litigation than it can handle. On many of the most important constitutional questions—touching on federalism, the separation of powers, and individual rights—this constraint creates a strong pressure to adopt hard-edged categorical rules, or defer to the political process, or both. The implications for U.S. constitutional law are profound. Lawyers, academics, and social activists pursuing social reform through the courts must consider whether their goals can be accomplished within the constraints of judicial capacity.
The Symposium will be a public event consisting of 5 panels. It will begin at 4:00pm on Thursday, October 24th and conclude at 5:00pm on Friday, October 25th. The Law Review will host dinners for panelists and other invited guests on the evening of Thursday, October 24th.
Agenda & Program
Thursday, October 24, 2019: Room 2260
|4:00-4:15 pm||Welcome Remarks from the Symposium Editors|
Panel One: Individual Rights
|5:45-5:55 pm||Day 1 Closing Remarks from the Symposium Editors|
|6:30-8:30 pm||Dinner for Speakers and Invited Guests|
|Friday, October 25, 2019||Room 2260|
|8:30-9:00 am||Continental Breakfast|
Panel Two: Federalism
|10:45 am-12:15 pm||
Panel Three: Separation of Powers
Keynote Speaker: Andrew Coan, Professor of Law; Director, William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government, University of Arizona Law
Panel Four: Judicial Independence
Panel Five: Judicial Competence
|5:00-5:10 pm||Closing Remarks from the Symposium Editors|
Important Deadlines for Speakers
- Monday, September 16th: Submit presenation titles, bios, abstracts (or short description of your presentation), and any dietary restrictions to Michelle Preston
- Monday, September 31st: Submit preliminary drafts to Michelle Preston
Access to Papers
10 hours of CLE Credit approved for WI Attorneys.
Background Reading for CLE Credit:
- "Judicial Capacity and the Substance of Constitutional Law (PDF)," Andrew B. Coan
- "Judicial Capacity and Executive Power (PDF)," Andrew B. Coan and Nicholas Bullard
We have reserved a block of hotel rooms for speakers and panelists at the DoubleTree Hotel. The DoubleTree is within walking distance of the Law School and offers a complimentary shuttle.
Please contact Wisconsin Law Review Symposium Editors Meg Sternitzky and Nathan Kuenzi.
Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School, Associated Students of Madison, University Lectures General Fund, Wisconsin Experience Grant