Alex Keyssar – November 2020 Reforming the Electoral Process:  What Is To Be Done?

Alex Keyssar – November 2020 Reforming the Electoral Process: What Is To Be Done?

This webinar will focus on what we have learned about electoral processes from November’s historic presidential election – and what we might want to think about changing. Among the topics to be engaged are: the possibility of Electoral College reform; the need for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote; the need for more nationally uniform procedures across the states; better funded election administration; and stronger safeguards against the many different varieties of voter suppression.

Alexander Keyssar is Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Stirling Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Widely regarded as “America’s greatest historian of democracy,” he is the author of numerous books, including Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? (released July 2020) and The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, a 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Beveridge Award from the American Historical Association for the best book in U.S. history. Keyssar has also taught at Duke University, MIT, and Brandeis University. He graduated from Harvard University with a PhD in the History of American Civilization.

Seminar Readings

Alexander Keyssar, “The Real Grand Bargain, Coming Undone,” The Washington Post (August 19, 2011)
Alexander Keyssar, “Voter Suppression Returns: Voting Rights and Partisan Practices,” Harvard Magazine (July-August 2012)
Alexander Keyssar, “The Strange Career of Voter Suppression,” The New York Times (February 12, 2012)
Alexander Keyssar, “How Has the Electoral College Survived for This Long?” The New York Times (August 3, 2020)
Alexander Keyssar, “The Stubborn Survival of the Electoral College,” The Wall Street Journal (August 13, 2020)

Jeffrey Rosen – October 2020 The Future of the Supreme Court

Jeffrey Rosen – October 2020 The Future of the Supreme Court

Jeffrey Rosen discusses the future of the Supreme Court and the key constitutional issues it will face, such as free speech, religious liberty, and civil rights. At a time of deep partisan polarization, he talks about how the Supreme Court can maintain its bipartisan legitimacy and independence. Finally, Rosen explores the arguments for and against calls for structural reform of the judiciary, including court packing and term limits.

Jeffrey Rosen serves as President & CEO of the National Constitution Center, Professor at The George Washington University Law School, and Contributing Editor of The Atlantic. He is the author of six books including, most recently, Conversations with RBG: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law. He has also written William Howard Taft: The American Presidents Series; Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet; The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America; The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America; The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age; and The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America. He is co-editor of Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change. Rosen is a graduate of Harvard College; Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and Yale Law School.

Seminar Readings

Jess Bravin, Brent Kendall, and Jacob Gershman, “What Trump Pick Amy Coney Barrett Could Mean for Future of the Supreme Court,” Wall Street Journal, (September 26, 2020)
Jeffrey Rosen, “John Roberts Is Just Who the Supreme Court Needed,” The Atlantic, (July 13, 2020)
Ryan D. Doerfler and Samuel Moyn, “Reform the Court, but Don’t Pack It,” The Atlantic, (August 8, 2020)

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Recorded on October 25, 2020

Richard Hasen – March 2020 Campaign Misinformation, the First Amendment, and the 2020 Election

Richard Hasen – March 2020 Campaign Misinformation, the First Amendment, and the 2020 Election

What can be done consistent with the First Amendment and without raising the risk of censorship to ensure that voters can make informed election decisions despite a flood of virally-spread false and misleading speech, audio, and images? How can the United States minimize foreign disinformation campaigns aimed at American elections and attempts to sow social discord via bot armies? How can voters obtain accurate information about who is trying to influence them via social media and other new forms of technology?

Richard L. Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, is a nationally recognized expert on election law and campaign finance regulation. His latest book, Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy, will be published by Yale University Press in February, 2020. He is also the author of The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections, and The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption. He was named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by The National Law Journal in 2013 and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California in 2005 and 2016 by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal.

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Podcast coming soon.

Seminar Readings

Richard L. Hasen “Speech in America is Fast Cheap and Out of Control” Op-Ed, Los Angeles Times (August 18, 2017)
Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron “Deepfakes: A Looming Crisis for National Security Democracy and Privacy?” Lawfare (February 21, 2018)

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Charlie Sykes – January 2020 The Future of Conservatism

Charlie Sykes – January 2020 The Future of Conservatism

What happened to the conservative movement? And where does it go now? Charlie Sykes is the author of How the Right Lost Its Mind, which looks at the Trumpist takeover of the Republican Party. But now that that takeover is complete, what lies ahead for the conservative movement? Will it continued to be dominated by Trumpism? By nationalism? Isolationism? Protectionism? Anti-immigrant sentiment? Or can it return to its small government, free market, intellectual roots?

Charlie Sykes, veteran journalist and conservative political commentator, is a founder and editor-in-chief of The Bulwark, host of The Bulwark Podcast, and an NBC/MSNBC contributor. He is also the author of nine books on current affairs and education. Sykes was previously a contributing editor at the now-shuttered Weekly Standard and host of its Daily Standard podcast. He co-hosted the public radio show “Indivisible” in 2017 and prior to that was a top-rated and influential conservative talk-show host in Wisconsin for 23 years. Sykes has written for many national publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, and National Review. He has appeared on Meet the Press, the Today Show, ABC’s This Week, Real Time with Bill Maher, as well as on PBS, CNN, Fox News, the BBC, and NPR.

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Podcast coming soon.

Seminar Readings

Charles J. Sykes, “Where the Right Went Wrong,” Op-Ed, The New York Times (December 15, 2016)
Charles J. Sykes, “Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying,” The New York Times, (February 4, 2017)
Charles J. Sykes, “What’s the Endgame of Trumpism?” The Bulwark, (February 25, 2019)

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Clare Garvie – December 2019 Facial Recognition and Civil Liberties

Clare Garvie – December 2019 Facial Recognition and Civil Liberties

This seminar explores the unique risks face recognition poses to our constitutional rights and liberties, and the efforts underway in communities across the country to regulate or ban its use. It will outline the current state of the technology and likely future deployments in the United States and abroad in the absence of regulation, using the UK as a comparative case study. It also examines historical and recent court decisions from both the US and UK that can help inform what legal protections exist vis-a-vis face recognition and related surveillance technologies.

Clare Garvie, Senior Associate at Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology, is the lead researcher and author of The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America (2016), a landmark study which revealed law enforcement’s widespread use of facial recognition technology with very little to no oversight or accountability mechanisms, limited training for bias, and the systematic compilation of databases made up of law-abiding citizen. She also served as the lead researcher on two follow-up reports, Garbage In, Garbage Out: Face Recognition on Flawed Data and America Under Watch: Face Surveillance in the United States, both of which appeared in 2019. In May, she testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on “Facial Recognition Technology: Its Impact on our Civil Rights and Liberties.”  That same month the groundbreaking findings of Clare and her research team were the focus of a one-day conference entitled, “About Face: The Changing Landscape of Facial Recognition,” sponsored by the Northeastern University School of Law. Her current research focuses on the use of face recognition-derived evidence in criminal cases, and she serves as an informational resource to public defenders, advocates, and journalists. Prior to attending Georgetown Law School (’15), Garvie worked in human rights and international criminal law with the International Center for Transitional Justice. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in political science, human rights, and psychology.

This event has been made possible through the generosity of Claude and Susan Case, Dorothy Largay and Wayne Rosing.

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Podcast coming soon.

Seminar Readings

Paul Mozur, “One Month, 500,000 Face Scans: How China Is Using A.I. to Profile a Minority,” The New York Times (April 14, 2019)
Drew Harwell, “Police Have Used Celebrity Look-alikes, Distorted Images to Boost Facial-Recognition Results, Research Finds,” The Washington Post (May 16, 2019)

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Natalie Wexler – October 2019 Closing the Knowledge Gap

Natalie Wexler – October 2019 Closing the Knowledge Gap

This seminar examines a largely overlooked reason for our failure to narrow the substantial gap in test scores between students at the top and bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum—and to raise overall achievement—over the past 50 years. Policymakers and reformers have viewed the problem as one of skills, leading educators to focus intensively on supposed reading comprehension skills like “finding the main idea” and marginalize social studies and science. Cognitive science, however, indicates the problem is fundamentally a lack of academic knowledge and vocabulary, especially among students from less educated families. As some schools are now discovering, the solution is to immerse all students in a rich, content-focused curriculum, beginning in the early elementary grades.

Leading education journalist, Natalie Wexler, is a senior contributor Forbes.com and the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—and How to Fix It (2019) which was deemed “essential reading for teachers, education administrators, and policymakers alike” by Library Journal. She is the coauthor, with Judith C. Hochman, of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (2017). Wexler has written articles and op-eds on education for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and other publications. Wexler blogs about education for Greater Greater Washington and on her own blog, DC Eduphile. She is a graduate Radcliffe College (A.B. 1976, magna cum laude), where she wrote for The Harvard Crimson. She also has degrees from the University of Sussex (M.A. 1977), and the University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D. 1983), where she served as editor-in-chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. After graduating law school, she worked as a law clerk for Judge Alvin Benjamin Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then for Associate Justice Byron R. White of the United States Supreme Court. Following her clerkships, she practiced law with Bredhoff & Kaiser in Washington, D.C.

This event has been made possible through the generosity of Mitchell Kauffman and Joanne Moran.

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Seminar Readings

Natalie Wexler, “The Achievement Gap Hasn’t Budged in 50 Years. Now What?” Forbes.com (Mar 17, 2019)
Daniel T. Willingham, “How to Get Your Mind to Read,” The New York Times (November 11, 2015)
Natalie Wexler, “Elementary Education Has Gone Terribly Wrong,” The Atlantic (August 2019)
Rory Dollard, “England vs West Indies Result: Chris Jordan Skittles Caribbean Rivals for 45 to Claim Biggest T20 win,” Independent (March 9, 2019)

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Jeff Greenfield – April 2019 Big Money in Politics and the Election of 2020

Jeff Greenfield – April 2019 Big Money in Politics and the Election of 2020

More than four decades after a post-Watergate Congress tried to put serious limits on campaign spending, the flood of money into politics has become a tsunami. A series of Supreme Court decisions has eroded many if not most attempts to restrict campaign spending. The growth of PACs and Super PACS has brought funds into the process from an ever-wider range of sources, especially from people of great means. But the rise of the Internet has made it possible for campaigns to raise huge sums from small donors (Bernie Sanders’ campaign was and is the most dramatic example). With the 2020 money race in full stride, is there any realistic chance that an effective law limiting campaign spending can get through the Congress, or withstand constitutional scrutiny? Will money be the determining factor in who wins in 2020? And is there a chance that big money could actually be a weapon to reform the process?

Jeff Greenfield is a five-time Emmy-winning network correspondent and best-selling author who, during a career spanning more than three decades, has served as former senior political correspondent for CBS, senior analyst for CNN, political and media analyst for ABC News, and contributing correspondent for PBS’ “News Hour Weekend.” Best known for his coverage of domestic politics and media, he has been a floor reporter or anchor booth analyst for every national convention since 1988. He was formerly a columnist for Time, Yahoo! News, and the New York Observer and is currently one for Politico and The Daily Beast. Greenfield has authored or co-authored 14 books, including a national bestselling novel (The People’s Choice) and several alternate histories of American politics (Then Everything Changed, 43*: When Gore Beat Bush, and If Kennedy Lived).

This event has been made possible through the generosity of the Poomer Fund, Santa Barbara Foundation courtesy of Anne Smith Towbes.

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Seminar Readings

Scott Casleton, “It’s Time for Liberals to get over Citizens United,” Vox (May 7, 2018)
Karl Evers-Hillstrom, Raymond Arke, and Luke Robinson, “A Look at the Impact of Citizens United on its 9th Anniversary,” OpenSecrets News (January 21, 2019)
Rob Garver, “Why 2020 US Presidential Race Will Be Costliest in History,” RealClearPolitics (February 14, 2019)
Cokie Roberts, “Ask Cokie: Why Were Campaign Finance Laws Put in Place?” Interview by David Greene, NPR Morning Edition (September 5, 2018)

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Marc Rotenberg – March 2019 Protecting Privacy in the Digital Age

Marc Rotenberg – March 2019 Protecting Privacy in the Digital Age

This seminar explores the concept of privacy in the modern age, the significance of recent developments in Europe and California, and the prospects for federal legislation in the United States. Among the key concepts, we will discuss the General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, the FTC consent orders concerning Facebook and Google, the need for a US data protection agency, and emerging challenges, including universal guidelines for Artificial Intelligence and limitations on facial recognition.

Marc Rotenberg serves as President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington DC and teaches at Georgetown Law. He is the author or editor of several books including (with Anita Allen) Privacy Law and SocietyPrivacy in the Modern Age: The Search for SolutionsPrivacy and Human Rights: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and DevelopmentsInformation Privacy Law, and Privacy and Technology: The New Frontier. serves on many expert panels, including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development AI expert group, and frequently testifies before Congress on emerging privacy issues.  He has appeared on Bloomberg TV, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, FoxNews, and National Public Radio and contributes to The EconomistThe New York Times, and USA Today.  He is a recipient of the ABA Cyberspace Law Excellence Award, World Technology Award for Law, and Berkeley Center for Law and Technology Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law and Technology. A graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School, he received an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown Law.

This event has been made possible through the generosity of Montecito Bank & Trust.

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Seminar Readings

Marc Rotenberg, “On International Privacy: A Path Forward for the US and Europe,” Harvard International Review (June 1, 2014)
Marc Rotenberg, “After Latest Facebook Fiasco, Focus Falls on Federal Commission,” Techonomy (December 21, 2018)
Marc Rotenberg, “Equifax, the Credit Reporting Industry, and What Congress Should Do Next,” Harvard Business Review (September 20, 2017)
Sue Halpern “Why the U.K. Condemned Facebook for Fuelling Fake News” The New Yorker (Feb. 22, 2019) 

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Richard Hasen – March 2020 Campaign Misinformation, the First Amendment, and the 2020 Election

Richard L. Hasen – January 2019 21st-Century Voting Wars

This seminar considers the “voting wars” that have erupted between the right and left over access to the ballot and concerns about voter fraud, voter suppression, and electoral integrity. It explores whether and how changes in voting rules, election administrator incompetence, foreign interference and occasional domestic “dirty tricks,” and an escalation of the rhetoric surrounding “stolen” elections threaten the legitimacy and acceptance of election results in 2020 and beyond. It examines the role that governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations may play in ensuring the American tradition of peaceful transfer of power after elections.

Richard L. Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, is a nationally recognized expert on election law and campaign finance regulation. He is the author of The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections, and The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption. He was named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by The National Law Journal in 2013 and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California in 2005 and 2016 by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal. His op-eds and commentaries have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, and Slate.

This event has been made possible through the generosity of Cliff and Crystal Wyatt.

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Seminar Readings

Richard L. Hasen, “The 2016 Voting Wars: From Bad to Worse,” 26 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 629 (2018)

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Jocelyn Frye – December 2018 Beyond #MeToo: Combatting Sexual Harassment

Jocelyn Frye – December 2018 Beyond #MeToo: Combatting Sexual Harassment

The seminar provides a contextual overview of the legal, policy, and historical developments – including the persistent influence of gender and racial biases on cultural and workplace attitudes – that have shaped the existing framework of protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.  The discussion examines the current challenges to combatting workplace sexual harassment effectively, and identifies potential avenues for progress at the legislative, workplace, and educational levels.  These strategies will include exploring ways to remove pre-employment barriers that limit the ability to report harassment, improve harassment reporting structures, reduce retaliation and better empower survivors, elevate bystander intervention and other prevention measures, incentivize greater transparency, strengthen enforcement, and promote workplace equity.  The discussion also examines how to counter the misperceptions about sexual harassment that overlook the disproportionate impacts on women of color and low-income women. The seminar concludes with a robust discussion about how best to advance promising policy options to achieve concrete progress in the years ahead.

Jocelyn Frye, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, is a leading authority on women’s economic security and employment issues. She served for four years as deputy assistant to former President Barack Obama and director of policy and special projects for former First Lady Michelle Obama, with a focus on women, families, and engagement with the greater DC community. Previously Frye was general counsel at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she testified before Congress and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on federal enforcement of employment-discrimination laws. She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

This event has been made possible through the generosity of Martin and Maureen McDermut.

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Seminar Readings

Jocelyn Frye, “From Politics to Policy:  Turning the Corner on Sexual Harassment,” Center for American Progress (January 31, 2018)
Jocelyn Frye, “Creating a Fair Process to Combat Sexual Harassment is Essential to Women’s Progress,” Center for American Progress (March 7, 2018)

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