A Center for judicial engagement event

Does the Will of the People Actually Exist?

Friday, September 10, 2021
At 8:30a.m EDT

Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University
3301 Fairfax Dr, Arlington, VA

When a court refrains from declaring a law unconstitutional it often explains that the law represents the “Will of the People” and that mere judges should invalidate that “Will” very sparingly. But what actually is the “Will of the People?” Does it even exist in the first place? And even if it does to some degree, how many of our laws really exist because of it? Further, what do the answers to these questions have to say about judicial review? If the “Will of the People” isn’t all it’s often thought to be, does that mean courts should be more engaged with finding laws to violate the Constitution?

This conference brings together leading experts on these issues from law, political science, and economics to address the same central questions (1) Does the “Will of the People” exist and if so to what extent? And (2) what does the answer to question (1) have to say for judicial deference to the political branches on questions of constitutionality? Several experts will present their essays answering these questions, and others will provide commentary on these overlooked issues of American democracy and constitutional law. The essays will later be published in the George Mason Law Review. Please join us in person or online for a fascinating day of conversation.

If you come in person, a free lunch and, if you’re a Virginia lawyer, we have been approved for 3 hours of CLE!

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Event Schedule
All times are in Eastern

8:30-9:00am Check-in

9:00-9:15am Opening Welcome

9:15-10:30am The Will of the People, a Law Perspective

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Barry Friedman
Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of Politics

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Maggie Lemos, J.D..Professor.Faculty.Law - Office of Dean.lemos@law.duke.edu.+1 919 613 7099(tel)..Address for interoffice mail:.Maggie Lemos, J.D..Duke Box 90362..Address for external mail:.Maggie Lemos, J.D..Duke Box 90362.Duke Law Sch 210 Science Drive.Duke Box 90362 Room 3030.Durham, NC 27708

Margaret Lemos
Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

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Ilya Somin
Professor of Law,
Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University

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David Bernstein
University Professor and Executive Director, Liberty & Law Center, Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University

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10:30-10:45am Break

10:45-12:00pm The Will of the People, a Political Science Perspective

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J. Jarpa Dawuni
Associate Professor, Howard University

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Joseph Ura
Professor of Political Science, Texas A&M University

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Samuel Goldman
Associate Professor of Political Science, George Washington University

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Dana Berliner
Senior Vice President and Litigation Director

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12:00-1:00pm Lunch

1:00-2:15pm The Will of the People, an Economics Perspective

Stefanie Haeffele
Senior Research Fellow, Deputy Director of Academic and Student Programs, and a Senior Fellow for the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

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Jayme Lemke
Senior Research Fellow and a Senior Fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

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Francesco Parisi
Professor of Law at University of Minnesota Law School and Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna

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Robert Frommer
Senior Attorney at the Institute for Justice

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