June 10, 2016

The Constitution’s Obligations

2016 ACS National Convention

Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School
Begin: 0:01

Joey Fishkin

University of Texas School of Law
Begin: 2:56

Kate Andrias

University of Michigan Law School
Begin: 9:28

Elise Boddie

Rutgers Law School
Begin: 14:37

Most of the time we think the Constitution imposes few obligations on the government to affirmatively advance public-regarding or progressive goals. The Constitution, on this theory, is really just protecting our “negative liberties” from the government. But perhaps there are places where the Constitution requires something of the government—or requires the government to protect people from private actors. This panel featured members of ACS's Board of Academic Advisors discussing the affirmative obligations that the Constitution imposes on government and how that understanding should influence constitutional decision making and interpretation. Topics included the duties Congress and the President have to implement immigration law consistent with the Equal Protection Clause, the government’s obligation to prevent oligarchy through campaign nance laws, and the constitutional roots of a right to education, in addition to race, labor rights, and economic inequality.


Ganesh Sitaraman, Assistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School; Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (moderator)
Kate Andrias, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
Elise Boddie, Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
Joseph Fishkin, Professor of Law, University of Texas School of Law