Monday, Sept. 9, 2013

The Tocqueville Project:
Constitutional Scholars Visit UNO

The University of New Orleans continues a new series of philosophy lectures with a visit from two of the nation's top Constitutional scholars.

The Tocqueville Project Hosts Roger Pilon and Louis Michael Seidman

The public panel discussion will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12 in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 236.

The Alexis de Tocqueville Project, known on campus as the Tocqueville Project, hosts a panel discussion on the appropriate role of the state in providing public welfare. Panelists will consider: What is better, more government, or less? What does the Constitution say? What is best for America?

Visiting UNO are two of the nation's top scholars on this issue, said Chris Surprenant, assistant professor of philosophy. Roger Pilon, director for the Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington DC, and Louis Michael Seidman, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University Law Center, will speak.

Pilon is founder and director of Cato's Center for Constitutional Studies, a critical force in the national debate over constitutional interpretation and judicial philosophy. He is also the publisher of the Cato Supreme Court Review and serves as an adjunct professor of government at Georgetown University through The Fund for American Studies. Prior to joining Cato, Pilon held five senior posts in the Reagan administration, including at the State and Justice Departments, and was a National Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. In 1989, he received the Bicentennial Commission's Benjamin Franklin Award for excellence in writing on the U.S. Constitution. In 2001 Columbia University's School of General Studies awarded him its Alumni Medal of Distinction. Pilon lectures and debates at universities and law schools across the country and testifies often before Congress.

His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Legal Times, National Law Journal, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Stanford Law & Policy Review, and elsewhere. He has appeared on ABC's Nightline, CBS's 60 Minutes II, Fox News Channel, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and other media channels. Pilon holds a B.A. from Columbia University, an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and a J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law.

Louis Michael Seidman graduated from Harvard Law School in 1971, then served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He went on to serve as a staff attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service until joining the Law Center faculty in 1976. The Georgetown law professor teaches a variety of courses in the fields of constitutional and criminal law. He is co-author of a constitutional law casebook and the author of many articles concerning criminal justice and constitutional law, according to his resume. In 2011, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Seidman's recent books include On Constitutional Disobedience; Silence and Freedom; Equal Protection of the Laws; and Our Unsettled Constitution: A New Defense of Constitutionalism and Judicial Review

About 100 people attended the Tocqueville Project's last public panel discussion, led by Tulane University Assistant Professor of Political Science Melissa V. Harris-Perry and Salmon Shomade, assistant professor of political science at UNO. Harris-Perry, a leading expert on black women's politics, and Shomade led a conversation entitled "Liberty, Security and The Limits of State Action" on Wednesday, Sept. 4. The talk, which was the first in the series this year,m focused on security, privacy and the appropriate levels of government, said Surprenant.

The Tocqueville Project panel discussions are designed to promote scholarship and discourse in moral and political thought – and will draw speakers from around the nation, said Surprenant, who is founder and director of the Alexis de Tocqueville Project on Democratic Ideals and Institutions, and started the discussion series last fall under the moniker "Lectures on Liberty."

This week's talk is the second of seven public panel discussions slated this fall. Key issues the Tocqueville Project will address include: "Why Beauty Matters" and "Religious Liberty & Public Education".


Read More

UNO Tocqueville Project Unveils Speakers for Fall Philosophy Lecture Series
Roger Pilon, The Cato Institute
Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown Law Center