March 9, 2021

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Eastern Time

Constitutional Rewrite in Chile: Challenges for Neoliberalism and Its Implications for the US


Please join the Yale Law ACS Student Chapter and LLSA for a virtual panel discussion on Chile's historic 2020 constitutional referendum and efforts in the U.S. for constitutional reform.

In 1980, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet - whose rise to power was supported by the United States government — wrote and passed, in an election widely denounced as fraudulent, the nation's constitution. Among other provisions, it enhanced power among Pinochet's political allies and, reflecting Pinochet's preference for American-style libertarian economic policy, partially or fully privatized sectors like education, health, and pensions. Pinochet was forced to leave office after losing a national referendum in 1988 and the constitution has since been amended several times, but many of its provisions, including its economic provisions, remain. In 2020, following mass protests over inequality, Chile held a national referendum — which passed with 78% of the vote — to begin the process of creating a convention tasked with drafting a new constitution for the country.

Renowned scholars Claudio Grossman and Sanford Levinson will discuss the history and implications of Chile's referendum on Chile's future, constitutional political economy, and constitutional reform, including in the United States.


Speaker bios:

Claudio Grossman is the Raymond I. Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law and Dean Emeritus at American University's Washington College of Law. A scholar of international law and human rights, he has served on and lead many international human rights institutions, including the United Nations International Law Commission, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (where he was Chairperson), and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (where he was President). He has successfully represented Chile before the International Court of Justice. Grossman was born in Valparaiso, Chile.

Sanford Levinson is a Professor of Government and the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. A constitutional law scholar who has written six books on constitutional jurisprudence, he has been active in calling for a second Constitutional Convention in the United States. In 2010, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.