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The Conservative Legal Movement and the Future of Liberal Jurisprudence

The conservative legal movement has shown remarkable success at defining the terms of the debate over jurisprudence, while the various visions of liberal theories of law that confront conservative orthodoxy have struggled to gain currency in the political sphere. Conservative legal theorists have coalesced around a relatively compact and politically effective set of ideas while their liberal critics have offered a diverse series of responses. In the face of conservative victories, can liberals forge a coherent response? Or will differences among liberals get in the way? What events might shake up the current state of the debate?

On December 1, the Brookings Institution hosted a conference on the asymmetry between liberal and conservative visions of jurisprudence. Participants discussed how modern conservative orthodoxy arose, the competing visions of liberal jurisprudence, and the prospects for political backlash against conservative orthodoxy and for a resurgence of liberal jurisprudence.

Following each panel, the participants took questions from the audience.

Agenda

9:30 AM -- Welcome

9:45 AM -- Opening Remarks

10:15 AM -- The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement

P

Pamela S. Karlan

Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law, Stanford Law School

1:25 PM -- Featured Speaker

2:25 PM -- Will There be a Backlash? Lessons for the Future

11:45 AM -- The Liberal Response: Not One, But Many

J

James E. Ryan

William L. Matheson & Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law

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