The Courts, the Constitution, and the Disappearing American Dream

The Great Recession of 2008 highlighted a decades-long trend of increased wealth stratification that some say echoes back to America's Gilded Age. The richest 3 percent of families now control more than half the nation's wealth, while the bottom 90 percent control less than a quarter. The Pew Research Center has found that 27 percent of Americans "say the growing gap between the rich and the poor is the greatest threat to the world today." Further, many charge that the Supreme Court has become a defender of business interests at the expense of the individual. What does the Constitution have to say about economic power and inequality and what role can courts play in this debate? How has the ongoing assault on unions impacted wealth distribution, and how can collective bargaining be strengthened? What other policies and legal means can help shore up the American dream of equal opportunity? 
  • Robert Borosage, Founder and President, Institute for America's Future
  • David Bernstein, George Mason University Foundation Professor, George Mason University School of Law
  • Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist, Washington Center of Equitable Growth
  • William Forbath, Associate Dean for Research, Lloyd M Bentsen Chair in Law, University of Texas School of Law
  • Sophia Lee, Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania Law School 
  • Ted Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Center for Civil Rights, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Ganesh Sitaraman, Assistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

William Forbath Interview

ACS interviews William Forbath, Associate Dean for Research and Lloyd M. Rentsen Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, on the Constitution and economic inequality at the 2015 ACS National Convention.