The Faculty Podcast

Listen to lectures by—and discussions with—the University of Chicago Law School's eminent faculty, as well as some very special guests.

July 29, 2016

Professor Tasioulas discusses the notion of the ‘minimum core obligations’ associated with economic, social and cultural human rights, such as the rights to education and health. The idea of minimum core obligations, which is a nascent doctrine in international human rights law, is heavily contested both as to its meaning and utility.

John Tasioulas is Visiting Professor of Law and the Charles J. Merriam Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School; Yeoh Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London; and Director of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy, and Law.

Presented by the International Human Rights Clinics and the Human Rights Law Society on May 5, 2016.

May 13, 2016

Today, as our capacity to prolong life increases, people dispute whether indefinite prolongation could possibly be good.  A leading bioethicist, Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of Rahm) has written that we should all want to die at 75!  I'll approach this question by drawing on ancient Greek arguments about why immortal life is undesirable -- arguments that I find fatally flawed.  I then turn to two more recent philosophers who try to reconcile us to finite and reasonably short mortal lives: "Younger Martha" (i.e. me in 1994), and my teacher Bernard Williams, who wrote about the "tedium of immortality."  I find those consolatory arguments flawed too.  But a better argument is found in the Roman philosopher Lucretius, and it applies to indefinite prolongation as well as to outright immortality.

Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics.

Presented on April 5, 2016, at the University of Chicago Law School.

May 12, 2016

Michael Kirby was a Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996-2009), the nation's highest appellate and constitutional Court. In 2013-14 he served as chair of the Commission of Inquiry of the UN Human Rights Council investigating crimes against humanity in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). The commission found grave and long-standing crimes against humanity and called for referral of its report to the Security Council of the United Nations. That body has the power to refer matters to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. He warned the Supreme Leader of North Korea that, under international law, he was potentially personally accountable for failing to use his power to prevent and redress such crimes. Although the commission's report was duly sent to the Security Council by the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, so far the Security Council as failed to enliven the jurisdiction of the ICC. In recent weeks, the Council has imposed new and stronger sanctions against North Korea following the conduct of a fourth nuclear weapons test and missile tests. The report of the commission has been widely praised for its powerful description of great wrongs. But how do we move beyond another UN report into effective subjection of this dangerous state and its leadership to compulsory accountability before an international tribunal responding to the deep concerns of humanity? The speaker will outline our dilemma. He will also answer questions and suggest possible future developments.

The Ulysses and Marguerite Schwartz Memorial Lectureship at the University of Chicago Law School is held by a distinguished lawyer or teacher whose experience is in the academic field or practice of public service.

Presented on March 29, 2016, at the University of Chicago Law School.

May 2, 2016

Justin Driver is Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Research Scholar. His principal research interests include constitutional law, constitutional theory, and the intersection of race with legal institutions. Prior to joining the University of Chicago Law School faculty, Driver was a visiting professor at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Virginia. He began his career in legal academia at the University of Texas in 2009.

This Loop Luncheon was presented on April 29, 2016, as part of reunion weekend.

March 9, 2016

Recent efforts by opponents of same-sex marriage and reproductive rights to reorient their agenda around religious freedom have sparked an explosion of scholarship on religious claims for exemption from generally applicable laws. Professor Weinrib will discuss an early antecedent of this strategy: the campaign by the National Civil Liberties Bureau, the organizational precursor of the ACLU, to secure exemptions from military service for conscientious objectors during the First World War. The conception of liberty of conscience that the ACLU’s founders advanced, which they linked to an “Anglo-Saxon tradition” of individual rights, clashed with Progressive understandings of democratic citizenship and failed to gain broad-based traction. Civil liberties advocates consequently reframed their wartime work in terms that foregrounded democratic dissent rather than individual autonomy. By the Second World War, the new emphasis on expressive freedom had worked its way into American constitutional law. Even then, however, most Americans rejected a court-centered and constitutional right to exemption from generally applicable laws.

Laura Weinrib is Assistant Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School.

This Chicago’s Best Ideas talked was recorded on February 17, 2016.

March 8, 2016

Dhammika Dharmapala is the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

The 2016 Coase Lecture was presented on February 16, 2016.

February 19, 2016

Chief Judge Diane Wood presents "Making Your Voice Heard" and speaks on issues related to women's professional development and the difficulties they face. 

Judge Diane Wood is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a senior lecturer here at the Law School. She earned her B.A. in 1971 and J.D. in 1975 from the University of Texas at Austin, and went on to clerk for Judge Irving L. Goldberg of the Fifth Circuit and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court. After spending time in private practice and in government, she began teaching, first at Georgetown University Law Center, and ultimately at The University of Chicago Law School, where she was the third woman to join the faculty. She was nominated to the Seventh Circuit by President Bill Clinton in 1995, and became Chief Judge on Oct. 1, 2013. She is the second woman to serve on the Seventh Circuit and the first woman to serve as Chief Judge of the Seventh Circuit.

This program was presented on January 14, 2016, by Law Women's Caucus, and sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students as part of Diversity Month.

January 22, 2016

Suppose a court holds in the context of a habeas petition that a constitutional right is not yet “clearly established.”  Can we conclude from this that the right does not exist?  The answer, of course, is “no”—it would be error to treat this case as having held that there is no such right.  Yet in case after case, across multiple areas of law, judges (and their clerks) make precisely these types of “deference mistakes”: they rely on precedent without understanding the standard of review or burden of proof that governed that precedent.  That includes the particular mistake described here: courts regularly rely on precedents holding that a constitutional right was not “clearly established” to conclude that the right does not exist.  Nor is the problem confined to individual cases.  Deference mistakes can propagate over time, leading to systematic shifts in legal doctrine.

Jonathan Masur is the John P. Wilson Professor of Law, David and Celia Hilliard Research Scholar, and Director of the Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Program in Behavioral Law, Finance and Economics.

Presented on January 12, 2016, as part of the Chicago’s Best Ideas lecture series.

December 31, 2015

Keynote address for the University of Chicago Law School Legal Forum Symposium 2015: Policing the Police

First published in 1985, the University of Chicago Legal Forum is the Law School’s second-oldest journal. The Legal Forum is a student-edited journal that focuses on a single cutting-edge legal issue every year, presenting an authoritative and timely approach to a particular topic.

Tracey L. Meares is the Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School

Recorded on November 6, 2015.

Also see the C-SPAN coverage:

December 9, 2015

"Standing Up for Marriage Equality: Insights from the Obergefell Supreme Court Arguments"

Doug Hallward-Driemeier leads Ropes & Gray’s Appellate and Supreme Court practice. He has presented more than 60 appellate arguments, including before the U.S. Supreme Court and every federal circuit court of appeals. In the 2014-2015 Supreme Court Term, he argued two cases, including the landmark Obergefell case.

Daniel Hemel’s research focuses on taxation, risk regulation, and innovation law. His current projects examine the taxation of risk-based returns; the application of cost-benefit analysis to tax administration; and the role of international law in providing innovation incentives.  As an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School, he teaches tax, administrative law, and torts.

This event was organized by the Office of the Dean of Students and sponsored by OutLaw. It was recorded on November 4, 2015.