Conference: “Constitutionalism and the Poor” April 14 Drake Law School

Drake University Law School Annual Constitutional Law Center Symposium: “Constitutionalism and the Poor” April 14, 2012, 8 am – 12:30 pm, Drake Law School, Des Moines, Iowa

For many years, U.S. constitutional law and theory have not generally focused on issues concerning the poor.  This was partly because several older U.S. Supreme Court decisions had refused to require the government to provide social benefit assistance to those who lacked resources.  Yet in the last year, income inequality has become one of the most contentious issues in American politics.  Many statistics indicate poverty levels are rising and “opportunity” is declining.  The “Occupy Wall Street” movement received significant attention.  Even some conservative politicians have attacked “predatory” capitalism, though the market-place certainly retains strong defenders.  This symposium seeks to examine how constitutional law and theory should address issues related to the poor.  The symposium participants are internationally known legal experts and activists on such questions.  They are likely to make proposals and arguments that influence these debates for years to come.

Moderators:  The Honorable Mark S. Cady, Chief Justice, Iowa Supreme Court; and Mark Kende, James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law and Director, Drake University Constitutional Law Center

8:00 a.m.   Registration and Continental Breakfast; 8:30 a.m.   Welcome and introduction

9:00 a.m.   Keynote Address:  “Dandridge v. Williams Redux: A Look Back From the 21st Century”? – Peter Edelman, Professor of Law, and Faculty Director of the Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center

9:45 a.m.   “Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue: How the Government’s Unconstitutional Actions Harm the Poor” – Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Editor-in-Chief of Cato Supreme Court Review at the CATO Institute

10:30 a.m.   “Whither the Canaries?” – Julie Nice, Herbst Foundation Professor of Law at University of San Francisco School of Law

11:00 a.m.   “Constitutional Essentials” – Frank Michelman, Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School

11:30 a.m.  “Implicit Bias: Structural Racialization and a New Constitution”  – john powell, Director, Haas Diversity Research Center and Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion, University of California, Berkeley

12:00 p.m.  “State Constitutions and Poverty” – James Gardner, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad SUNY Distinguished Professor of Civil Justice at SUNY Buffalo Law School, State University of New York

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION/REGISTRATION:  For additional information and registration please visit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s