Sunday, April 7, 2019


Multi-year Rosenkranz Originalism Conference Initiative Announced

Yale Law School is proud today to announce the launch of a major new intellectual initiative, “The Rosenkranz Originalism Conference at Yale Law School.” This program, many months in the making, will bring prominent academics and jurists to Yale for a day-long conference each semester to discuss and debate various approaches to and critiques of originalism in constitutional thought and practice. The initiative will be led by Visiting Professor Steven G. Calabresi ’83 and Professor Akhil Reed Amar ’84 and is sponsored by — and was largely inspired by — Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz ‘99, Professor of Law at Georgetown.

Calabresi, who co-founded the Federalist Society while a student at Yale Law School and went on to work closely with leading champions of originalism in the 1980s — including Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, and Ed Meese — currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Federalist Society. He has written widely about the text and original meaning of the Founding-era Constitution and its subsequent amendments in dozens of leading law review articles and in two notable books: Originalism: A Quarter Century of Debate (2007, editor) and The Unitary Executive: Presidential Power from Washington to Bush (2008, co-authored with Christopher S. Yoo).

Amar, who styles himself a “liberal originalist,” has also written widely about the text and original meaning of the Founding-era Constitution and its subsequent amendments — perhaps most notably in his prizewinning books, The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (1998) and America’s Constitution: A Biography (2005) and in his 2000 Foreword to the Harvard Law Review. The Law School will also offer a regular seminar on originalism, which will be closely coordinated with the Rosenkranz Originalism Conference. Calabresi and Amar’s personal conversations about the Constitution began when they were friends and classmates at Yale College, and the two have continued their spirited conversations ever since. The 2018 revised edition of the late Justice Scalia’s landmark book on originalism, A Matter of Interpretation, features an Introduction by Amar and an Afterword by Calabresi. Together, Calabresi’s and Amar’s works have been cited by the Supreme Court in more than 40 cases.

Professor Rosenkranz has published several groundbreaking articles in the Harvard Law Review and the Stanford Law Review, including The Subjects of the Constitution, which is one of the most downloaded articles about structural constitutional law of all time. Like Amar and Calabresi, Rosenkranz has been repeatedly cited by the Supreme Court. While a student at Yale Law School, Rosenkranz worked closely with Amar, and in recent years he has worked alongside Calabresi as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federalist Society.

Yale Law School is particularly grateful for the strong intellectual and financial support for this new initiative provided by Professor Rosenkranz, the Rosenkranz family, and the Rosenkranz Foundation.