Recent headlines have been full of references to “constitutional showdowns,” as the President asserts executive privilege against a Congressional investigation of the firing of U.S. Attorneys, and as Congress threatens to restrict the President’s discretion to deploy troops in Iraq. See (for example) here, here, and here.
The constitutional showdown is a category with real-world importance, but no theoretical backbone. What is a showdown, and are they bad, or good? Why and under what conditions?
Continue reading "Showdown!" »
It's been a while since we brought you a podcast, so here goes. On Tuesday, April 10, 2007, Richard Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law, delivered a Chicago's Best Ideas talk entitled "The Blink of an Eye: Intuition, Custom and Protocol." Several of our faculty members, including Dean Levmore, have been doing a lot of work on how information is people use the information they get to make decisions. Richard Epstein's take on the subject is, as always, worth your time. Listen to the talk here, and review the blurb from the posters after the jump.
Continue reading "Epstein CBI: Intuition, Custom and Protocol" »
A provocative title, no? Well, Todd Henderson's a provocative guy. On Wednsday, May 9, 2007, he delivered the talk on "CEOs are Underpaid." As he said, he may not have convinced the audience that CEOs are underpaid, but he was pretty convincing in explaining that they seem to be efficiently paid and not overpaid. You're going to have to listen to hear for yourself. The blurb for the talk is after the jump.
Continue reading "Henderson CBI: CEOs are Underpaid" »
On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, Professor Anup Malani delievered a Chicago's Best Ideas talk on "Valuing Laws as Local Amenities." Professor Malani thinks we go wrong in trying to determine the value of a law only by its direct effects - he argues that by looking at the effect that any given law has on wages and property values, we can determine the relative value of all laws. This allows us to treat laws just like any other community amenities, such as the fixing of potholes or the building of a swimming pool. Listen to the talk here, and read the full blurb after the jump.
Continue reading "Malani CBI: Valuing Laws as Local Amenities" »
On January 24, 2007, Lior Strahilevitz delivered a Chicago's Best Ideas talk on his notion that we should all be subject to a program like the "How's My Driving?" program you see on the backs of trucks. The truck program saves lives, and Professor Stahilevitz argues that in this case, more is better. Strahilevitz also hinted that this sort of communal feedback system could be used for much more than our nation's roadways. Intrinsically fascinating, and caused half the packed room to raise hands for questions. You can hear this talk here. For those who want to read the full paper and have access to SSRN, here's the link. Description from the posters after the jump.
Continue reading "Strahilevitz: How's My Driving? For Everything and Everyone" »
Yesterday, Geoffrey Stone delivered a Chicago's Best Ideas talk with the title of "Government Secrecy v. Freedom of the Press." A packed house heard Geof discuss the law involved in when national security considerations trump (or should trump) the press's right to publish information, and even when they trump the right of individual citizens to bring such information to light. Listen to the talk to hear him explain why what looks like a balancing test isn't always a balancing test and why this talk is about so much more than the Pentagon Papers.
Listen to the talk here. Professor Stone's full blurb from the posters is after the jump, and podcast instructions for the uninitiated are here.
Continue reading "Stone: "Government Secrecy v. Freedom of the Press"" »
On Thursday, November 16, Professor Bernard Harcourt gave a talk in the Chicago's Best Ideas series entitled "Against Prediction: Punishing in an Actuarial Age." He has a new book out with a similar title (Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing and Punishing in an Actuarial Age) and presented part of this material to the students. The talk was a very interesting look at law enforcement profiling and whether it works. Professor Harcourt approached this empirically, disussing whether it works on a practical level, injecting a new element in a debate that is traditionally about morals and ethics.
You can listen to the talk here, and view the Power Point slides used in the presentation here. Download harcourt_against_prediction_powerpoint.ppt (The PPT slides will be very helpful in following along, as several charts and graphs are referred to.) The description used for the publicity is below the jump.
Continue reading "Harcourt: Against Prediction" »
On Tuesday, October 3, Cass Sunstein delivered the first lecture of the academic year in the 5th Annual "Chicago's Best Ideas" series. His title was "Nudge: The Gentle Power of Libertarian Paternalism." The room was packed, as usual for Cass, and the discussion was lively. The topic was quintessential behavioral law and econ, and was quite interesting (even to a layperson). Well worth your time, but we think all CBIs are, so you shouldn't trust us - you should check it out for yourself. As always, podcast instructions are here, and the blurb for the talk is below the fold.
Continue reading "Sunstein Podcast: Libertarian Paternalism" »
On May 10, 2006, Tracey Meares closed out our "Chicago's Best Ideas" season with a talk entitled "Attention Felons: Reducing Gun Crime in Chicago." The talk focused on an initiative started by Tracey and others to reduce the incidence of gun ownership by convicted felons by increasing their awareness that such ownership was illegal. The dramatic results of the program are explained in the podcast. You will likely want to follow along with the powerpoint presentation to see the data to which she refers.
The podcast may be heard here, the powerpoint is here: Download meares_cbi_slides.ppt. Instructions are here, the full blurb of the talk from the posters is after the jump.
Podcasting (as well as blogging) will be somewhat lighter over the summer, but we're looking forward to bringing you some very interesting archival items. Watch this space!
Continue reading "Attention Felons: Reducing Gun Crime in Chicago" »
Professor Bernard Harcourt delivered a fascinating Chicago's Best Ideas Talk on April 5, 2006, entitled "Language of the Gun: A Semiotic for Law & Social Science." Professor Harcourt's talk was based on his recent book Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy and covered some fascinating, if often disturbing, data from interviews with incarcerated teens about their opinions about guns. Professor Harcourt analyzes the particular language the teens use to talk about guns and the associations their words have, and what the implications are for public policy. WARNING: while this talk is certainly worth your time, it does include some explicit language (as Harcourt repeats some of the comments the study participants made) and violent subject matter. This may not be work-appropriate and is almost certainly not appropriate for young children.
You'll benefit from looking at Professor Harcourt's slides along with the talk, as some of the charts are discussed in detail, and the opening photos bring the talk into even clearer focus.Download harcourt_language_of_the_gun.ppt. You can listen to the talk here. Instructions on listening to the podcast are here. The blurb for Professor Harcourt's talk is below the fold (the text of this is a bit explicit as well).
Continue reading "More Harcourt, This Time About Teens and Guns" »
When Douglas Baird does a talk in a series called "Chicago's Best Ideas," he doesn't mess around. For his talk in the series on February 7, 2006, Douglas examined an idea that led to the only Nobel Prize ever awarded to a faculty member of an American law school - the one given to Ronald Coase in 1991 for his work on, among other things, the nature of the firm. Douglas's CBI (as we affectionately call the entries in this series) was a fascinating foray into Coase's research on and understanding of what a firm is and why it functions the way it does - research done when Coase was still an undergraduate. Douglas kept the full room riveted (no pun intended) by the mystery of why 1930s automobile companies bought and integrated some of their suppliers, but not others. Curious? You should be. Listen to the talk here.
As always, instructions for listening to this podcast are here. The blurb Douglas used for the publicity for his talk is below the fold.
Continue reading "Coase's Journey - A Douglas Baird CBI Podcast" »
Martha Nussbaum is working on a book on religion and the Constitution. A portion of the research on the book led to her January 31, 2006 entry into the Chicago's Best Ideas series, entitled "The Roots of Respect: Roger Williams and Religious Fairness." Martha's talk explores Williams's interesting and prescient (although long and dense) writings on the subject, and explains why Williams has a lot to say to those who believe separation of church and state is an idea created by non-religious people. You can listen to the talk and discussion here.
As always, instructions for listening and subscribing, should you need them, are available here. The blurb Martha used for the publicity for her talk is below the fold.
Continue reading "The Roots of Respect: Roger Williams and Religious Fairness - A Nussbaum CBI" »
Geoffrey Stone gave a talk in the Chicago's Best Ideas series on January 12, 2006, entitled "Sexing the Constitution." The talk lays out some of the preliminary research that Geof has done for a future book on how sexuality and sexual behavior is treated in constitutional law. This talk deals with the history of how sexual behavior has been seen and treated in various societies over time. There is some frank talk in here, so I wouldn't play this with your young kids in the room unless you want to answer a whole lot of questions for them. Regardless, well worth your time. You can listen to the talk and discussion here.
As always, instructions for listening and subscribing, should you need them, are available here. The blurb Geof used for the publicity for his talk is below the fold.
Continue reading "Sexing the Constitution - Geoffrey Stone" »
Emily Buss delivered an interesting entry into the Chicago's Best Ideas Series on November 10, 2005. The talk was entitled "Turning Best Ideas into Practice, Chicago’s Policy Initiative on Foster Care." The Law School has several projects known as Policy Initiatives, where the collective work and experience of faculty, students, and alumni are being focused on particular problems with the intent of providing potential solutions. Emily Buss is heading one such project on what happens to children who "age out" of the foster care system. In this talk, Emily discussed not only the specifics of the project, but also the inherent difficulties of doing this kind of empirical work. You can listen to the lecture and discussion here.
As always, instructions for listening and subscribing, should you need them, are available here. The blurb Emily used for the publicity for her talk is below the fold.
Continue reading "Chicago’s Policy Initiative on Foster Care" »
On Tuesday, October 25, Cass Sunstein gave a talk in the Chicago's Best Ideas Series entitled "Beyond Marbury: The President's Power To Say What the Law Is." For those who have seen Cass discussing the judiciary a lot lately, you'll enjoy his foray into the executive branch. Audio of the event is available here. For instructions on listening to podcasts, click here. For more explanation of the content of the talk, see the blurb below the fold.
Continue reading "Cass's CBI: Beyond Marbury" »