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.

February 11, 2010

The law has always treated children differently, and these differences in treatment are largely attributed to differences in capacity. Children lack the decision making ability and the self-control of adults, the cases and commentary explains, and therefore should be given less control over their own lives, and blamed less severely for their offenses. For much of the 20th century, these developmental arguments were grounded in life experience and conventional wisdom. More recently, however, developmental psychologists and legal scholars have joined forces to argue for legal rights and responsibilities that more accurately and consistently reflect psychological (and, most recently, neuroscientific) research about how children change as they grow up. This heavy reliance on developmental science was embraced by the Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons, the 2005 case ruling that the Constitution prohibited the imposition of the death penalty for offenses committed by juveniles. While the Roper analysis can be applauded for its careful attention to social scientists' increasingly sophisticated understanding of children's capacities, it also demonstrates certain risks that come with this inter-disciplinary approach. In her talk, Buss will consider these risks, and suggest an approach to the formulation of children's rights that rests less on our current understanding of children's capacities and more on the role we want the law to play in shaping how children grow up.

Emily Buss is Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law and Kanter Director of Policy Initiatives at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded January 25, 2010 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas series.

January 28, 2010

This panel discussion was the second in a series of three events, initiated by the University of Chicago Law Review, celebrating Judge Frank Easterbrook's 25 years on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel, which featured professors Douglas Baird, Saul Levmore, Martha Nussbaum, David Strauss, and Judge Easterbrook, was held on January 13, 2010.

January 28, 2010

This panel discussion was the second in a series of three events, initiated by the University of Chicago Law Review, celebrating Judge Frank Easterbrook's 25 years on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel, which featured professors Aziz Huq, Jonathan Masur, Geoffrey Stone, and Judge Easterbrook, was held on January 12, 2010.

January 27, 2010

This panel discussion was the first in a series of three events, initiated by the University of Chicago Law Review, celebrating Judge Frank Easterbrook's 25 years on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel, which featured professors Omri Ben-Shahar, Randy Picker, Eric Posner and Judge Easterbrook, was held on January 11, 2010.

January 15, 2010

This address by Ronald Coase (Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School) to the conference "Markets, Firms and Property Rights: A Celebration of the Research of Ronald Coase" was recorded November 23, 2009.

December 31, 2009

This talk was presented on October 16, 2009 at the Conference on Comparative Constitutional Design at the University of Chicago Law School. Eric Posner is Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and Adrian Vermeule is John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. John Carey (Dartmouth College) provided commentary on the paper.

December 14, 2009

This talk was recorded on October 17, 2009 as part of the Conference Comparative Constitutional Design held at the Unversity of Chicago Law School. Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Rajmohan Gandhi (University of Illinois) provides commentary.

December 3, 2009

Legal scholars praise "incrementalism" and "minimalism" in law, which is to say the idea that law should progress in small steps and lawmakers should intervene less rather than more. But the acclaim for these approaches ignores the role of interest groups in our legal system. There are many issues where there is good reason to think that legislating step-by-step is a recipe for getting to the wrong result.

Saul Levmore is Dean and William B. Graham Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on November 10, 2009 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas Series.

November 19, 2009

What work do the categories "the free market" and "regulation" do for us? Why do we incarcerate one out of every one hundred adults? These seemingly unrelated questions, it turns out, are deeply interconnected. The categories of free and regulated markets emerged as an effort to make sense of irreducibly individual phenomena—unique forms of social organization. In the process, the categories helped shape the dominant belief that the economic realm is characterized by natural order, and that the only legitimate sphere of government intervention is policing and punishment. The consequences have been devastating: first, in distorting and expanding the penal sphere beyond our worst possible dreams, and, second, in naturalizing and masking the regulatory mechanisms inherent to all markets that massively redistribute wealth. In this CBI, Professor Harcourt challenges these categories and asks us to imagine a world where the terms "free" and "regulated" markets no longer exist.

This talk was recorded May 21, 2009 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

November 5, 2009

The University of Chicago Law School's "Shakespeare and the Law" conference brought together thinkers from law, literature, and philosophy to investigate the legal dimensions of Shakespeare's plays. Participants explored the ways in which the plays show awareness of law and legal regimes and comment on a variety of legal topics, ranging from general themes, such as mercy and the rule of law, to highly concrete legal issues of his time. Other papers investigated the subsequent influence of his plays on the law and explored more general issues concerning the relationship between law and literature.

The keynote session of the conference featured Justice Stephen Breyer, Judge Richard Posner, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics Martha Nussbaum, and Frank L. Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Richard Strier (English, University of Chicago). It was recorded May 15th, 2009.