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Law and Government News & Events

Each year, the program sponsors lectures by leading scholars, officials and lawyers who not only study but shape public law as well as short courses. The program draws on a wide range of scholarly perspectives—legal, political, historical, philosophical and economic—that bear on the study and practice of public law in the United States and abroad.

2018-19 Events

event poster image Investigations and Prosecutions in the Age of Trump: A Conversation with Hon. Paul J. Fishman

April 1, 2019
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Bennett Miller Room

Please join the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program, the Criminal Justice Program, and the Program in Law and Government for an engaging conversation between former U.S. Attorney and frequent media commentator Paul Fishman and Professor Michael P. Vandenbergh of Vanderbilt Law School. Fishman will discuss the high-profile investigations and prosecutions involving the Trump administration with Professor Vandenbergh. He will provide insights into the status of the Mueller report, other investigations, criminal procedure, and the rule of law.  Light refreshments will be served to those attending the event.


A View From the House, a conversation with Luke Messer '94 (R-IN)

September 17, 2018
12:00 p.m.
Moore Room
Lunch served

Please join Congressman Luke Messer '94 (R-IN) and Professor Ganesh Sitaraman as they discuss being a Congressman and politics in the current political climate. Sponsored by the Program in Law and Government. Lunch will be Provided. 

Luke Messer is the Congressman for Indiana's 6th Congressional District, a large 19-county region stretching from Delaware County at the top, to Jefferson and Switzerland Counties along the beautiful Ohio River.Luke hit the ground running when elected to Congress in 2012 and quickly established himself as an emerging leader. In his first term, he was elected President of the Freshman Class by his peers. In just his 2nd term, Messer was elected the House Republican Policy Chair - the Conference's 5th ranking leadership position. He was recently re-elected to serve as Policy Chair in the 115th Congress. He also serves on the House Financial Services and House Education & Workforce committees where he works on issues ranging from K-12 education to banking reform. Messer also founded the Congressional School Choice Caucus, which now has 34 members. Prior to Congress, Luke Messer served as an Indiana State Legislator, led a not-for-profit as President and CEO, and gained business experience as a partner in two law firms. Luke graduated summa cum laude & Phi Beta Kappa from Wabash College and earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University where he served on the Vanderbilt Law Review.

2017-18 Events

Professor Randall KenedyThe Kneel-In Movement: Race, Religion, and the Second Reconstruction

Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School, delivered the 2018 Victor S. Johnson Lecture at the law school Feb. 1. Professor Kennedy was welcomed by Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III '74, who endowed the Johnson Lecture in honor of his grandfather. His lecture addressed "The Kneel-In Movement: Race, Religion and the Second Reconstruction."

Makan DelrahimA Conversation with Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division

Makan Delrahim discussed his work as assistant attorney general in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in a conversation moderated by Professor Rebecca Haw Allensworth.

Erie Meyer Government in the Age of

The Program on Law and Government welcomed Erie Meyer to talk on the topic of "Government in the Age of" and share will-be war stories about technology in government and strategies for transformation. 

Franklin Foer Event Poster

Mark Zuckerberg's War on Free Will: How Big Tech Threatens the Individual

Franklin Foer is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, a New America Foundation Fellow, former editor of The New Republic, and author of World Without Mind. Foer will be discussing "Mark Zuckerberg's War on Free Will: How Big Tech Threatens the Individual" based on his latest book.

Rep. Ted Deutch A Candid Conversation With Representative Ted. Deutch (FL) and Prof. Brian Fitzpatrick

Co-sponsored by the Vanderbilt Law School Program in Law and Government, American Constitution Society, and Federalist Society, we welcomed Congressman Ted Deutch to Vanderbilt Law School. Professor Brian Fitzpatrick spoke with Representative Deutch about the state of politics in Washington, as well as a wide variety of legislative issues.

Supreme Court Preview 2017 Supreme Court Preview

Vanderbilt Law Professors Paul Edelman, Brian Fitzpatrick, Sara Mayeux, and Karla McKanders reviewed some of the major cases before the Supreme Court this year. This annual event is sponsored by the Vanderbilt Program in Law and Government, the American Constitution Society, and the Federalist Society.

Media Commentary

U.S. News: Trump move on healthcare religious freedom prompts discrimination fears
The Trump administration moved to protect healthcare workers who refuse aid on religious or moral grounds. James Blumstein, university professor of constitutional law and health law and policy, is quoted.

NPR: As states legalize weed, feds eye crackdown
Robert Mikos
, professor of law, was a guest on On-Point to discuss Jeff Session’s marijuana decision. National Review featured a related article.

NBC: Justice Department’s policy shift may slow booming pot industry
In his memo Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t directly order a federal crackdown on pot enterprises. But it was vague enough to leave that possibility open. Robert Mikos, professor of law is quoted. PBS and Scientific American featured related stories.

ABC News: How the impeachment process works - November 17, 2017 - Democrats have been calling for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, with varying levels of seriousness. Here is a breakdown of the presidential impeachment process. Suzanna Sherry, professor of law, is quoted. 

New York Times: Our Constitution Wasn't Built for This - September 16, 2017 - Professor Ganesh Sitaraman's column focuses on the theme of his new book, “The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic.”  It appeared in the Sept. 16 Sunday Review section of the New York Times.

Salon: Trump’s threat to withdraw from NAFTA may hit a hurdle: The US Constitution - September 4, 2017 - Tim Meyer, professor of law, discusses the constitutional limits hindering Trump’s ability to withdraw from NAFTA.

Associated Press: Lawyer: Marijuana prohibition laws unconstitutional - July 17, 2017 - A Connecticut lawyer is hoping his arguments in a drug case eventually are used by attorneys across the country to fight marijuana charges and bans on pot possession. Aaron Romano says many state laws criminalizing marijuana were based on the federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which essentially criminalized marijuana by imposing harsh financial penalties. He argues the federal law was rooted in racism and bigotry against blacks and Mexicans and therefore was unconstitutional, as are the state bans based on the law including Connecticut’s. Robert Mikos, professor of law, is quoted.

Huffington Post: Can American democracy survive the era of inequality? - April 19, 2017 - Inequality is not the breakdown of an awesome machine. It is a political crisis one that threatens the very foundations of American government, according to a startling new book by Vanderbilt University Law School Associate Professor Ganesh Sitaraman. In The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution, Sitaraman argues persuasively that the American Constitution requires a robust middle class to operate, and will break down in the face of prolonged, severe economic inequality. Sitaraman is quoted in the article and interviewed on a podcast embedded in the article.

Tim Meyer Testifying CSPAN3 (National), CSPAN2 (National) and ABC News (National) aired live confirmation hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominated for a position on the Supreme Court. Timothy Meyer, professor of law, who clerked for Judge Gorsuch from 2007 to 2008, was interviewed as a member of the witness panel