June 10, 2016

We the People? Law and Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion

2016 ACS National Convention

Julie Fernandes

Open Society Foundations
Begin: 0:02

Ian Haney López

University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Begin: 4:13

Baher Azmy

Center for Constitutional Rights
Begin: 12:46

Kenneth Mack

Harvard Law School
Begin: 20:48

Pamela Karlan

Stanford Law School
Begin: 30:43

Ilya Somin

George Mason University School of Law
Begin: 37:07
Throughout U.S. history, social movements have achieved great legal victories that have enhanced social inclusion and expanded the meaning of “we the people.” Whether it be the civil rights movement and its heir, Black Lives Matter, or the push for LGBT equality that resulted in last year’s Obergefell decision, the interplay between social action and legal progress can be powerful. At the same time, the current campaign season has highlighted a disturbing phenomenon: the facility with which racial, religious and other minorities are demonized in our political discourse over what should be substantive policy issues. This is certainly not new. The Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the Supreme Court’s legitimization of both, remind us of the potential exclusionary power our politics can have on the legal landscape. How does, or how should, social action shape constitutional meaning?


Julie Fernandes (moderator), Advocacy Director for Voting Rights and Democracy, Open Society Foundations
Baher Azmy, Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights

Ian Haney López, John H. Boalt Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Pamela Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School 
Kenneth Mack, Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law