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 14, 2011

This is a recording of a training seminar presented by the Federal Criminal Justice Project for federal criminal defense attorneys entitled “A Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Considerations and Consequences From Bond Through Sentencing and Beyond.” Approximately 60 federal defenders and Criminal Justice Act Panel attorneys attended the seminar, which was held on May 5, 2011, at the office of the Federal Defender Program in Chicago. Two  clinic students (Daniel Rosengard and Roger Sharpe) and Prof. Siegler presented at the seminar, along with Claudia Valenzuela, the associate director of the National Immigrant Justice Center. This seminar was part of an FCJP initiative to educate the federal criminal defense community about the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and to change the way the defense bar approaches bond considerations in cases involving non-citizen defendants.

July 1, 2011

Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will deliver a lecture on the history of the theory of judicial self-restraint as articulated primarily by Thayer, Holmes, Brandeis, Frankfurter, and Bickel (the "Thayerians"). He will discuss and evaluate the various grounds on which the theory (or tradition) has been defended, describe its virtual abandonment by the academy and rejection by both wings of the U.S. Supreme Court, and examine the reasons for its rise and fall.

Commentators: Lee Epstein, the Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law, and Aziz Huq, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago School of Law School

The Brennan Center Jorde Symposium, an annual event, was created in 1996 to sponsor top scholarly discourse and writing from a variety of perspectives on issues that were central to the legacy of William J. Brennan, Jr. The fall lecture is typically held at the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall, where Tom Jorde taught for many years. The spring lecture is at a different law school every year. Both lectures and the four commentaries are published annually in the California Law Review. For more information, visit .

This event was recorded April 14, 2011.

June 15, 2011

Remarks from the Law School's 2011 Hooding Ceremony on June 11, 2011. Speakers included Dean Michael Schill, Debra Cafaro, '82 (recipient of the Distinguished Alumna Award), and Professor Douglas Baird.

June 2, 2011

One of the major functions of the FDA is to check new drugs for their safety and effectiveness. The chief tool for doing this has been the double-blind clinical trial. Over the past 20 years ago, the requirements for these trials have become ever more stringent, reducing the probability that new chemical entities will be approved, delaying their onset into the market, and increasing their costs. The FDA claims that these stark measures are needed to discharge its chief function of consumer protection. In this talk, Professor Epstein disputes that contention, to argue that many of the FDA standards are analytically unsound and socially counterproductive. The constant demand for compassionate exemptions on the one hand, and widespread off-label use of approved drugs are clear signs that the current system is out of whack and in need of serious recalibration. Richard Epstein is James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Law and Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded May 2, 2011 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

May 19, 2011

What is a tiebreaker? Are some tiebreakers better than others? Does law have tiebreakers? Are ties so terrible that we need to break them? In this CBI, Professor Samaha offers answers to these questions. Using various examples from life and law, he will explain how tiebreakers can be thought of as a peculiar sort of lexically inferior decision rule. He will then indicate when tiebreaking decision structures seem appropriate, as well as the trade-offs associated with different kinds of tiebreakers. For instance, randomization is a tiebreaker that is often theoretically attractive but politically infeasible, while using a variable relevant to the merits of a decision is often politically feasible but theoretically flawed. Finally, Professor Samaha will suggest that, in important ways, law is one large and imperfect tiebreaker for the rest of social life.

Adam Samaha is Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on April 26, 2011 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

May 5, 2011

Commentators criticized the Bush administration for expanding presidential powers, but the Obama administration has not tried to curtail them, nor has Congress or the courts.  In this talk, Professor Posner will trace the evolution of the imperial presidency, and explain why the powerful executive has become entrenched in the U.S. system of government.

Eric Posner is Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded April 29, 2011, as the Law School's annual Loop Luncheon.

April 21, 2011

Among the disturbing reports from a variety of venues at which the U.S. military has conducted interrogations of Islamic male detainees are those detailing exploitation of sexual and gender stereotypes and taboos as a central part of efforts to humiliate and degrade detainees. Professor Case's analysis will be structured around three quotations, two from interrogators (including the lecture’s title) and one from a detainee. It will demonstrate that precedents for all of the sexualized abuses, and for most of the non-sexualized abuses, could be found in what soldiers themselves experienced in military hazing. Abuse is not simply about treating the prisoners as “the other,” but about doing to “them” what was done to “us.” And what was done? In the words of one detainee, “They wanted us to feel as though we were women, the way women feel and this is the worst insult, to feel like a woman.” The use of feminization as a means of degradation, whether in interrogation or basic training, is not only harmful to sex equality, but also to military effectiveness. For example, although gentler interrogation techniques have a proven track record and are favored by most experts, harsh techniques are now in favor, because, as one interrogator said, otherwise, “They’ll think we are … pussies.” Professor Case will consider ways in which these practices do gender-based harm, not only to the men who are their alleged targets, but to the military women involved, voluntarily or not, in carrying them out, as well as to women generally. Mary Anne Case is Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on April 13, 2011 as part of the "Chicago's Best Ideas" lecture series.

March 17, 2011

This debate between Geof Stone (Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Law School) and Alexander Tsesis (Assistant Professor of Law, Loyoal University Chicago) was recorded on February 14, 2011 and was sponsopred by APALSA, BLSA, and Outlaw.

March 11, 2011

It is widely believed today that the free market is the best mechanism ever invented to efficiently allocate resources in society. Just as fundamental is the belief that government has a legitimate and competent role in policing and punishing. The result, in this country, has been an incendiary combination of laissez faire and mass incarceration. Today, the United States incarcerates over one percent of its adult population, the highest number and rate in the world. In this CBI, Professor Harcourt will trace the birth of the idea of natural orderliness in economic thought and its gradual evolution into today’s myth of the free market, and explore how it could possibly have produced the largest government-run penal sphere on the globe.

This talk was recorded on February 21, 2011, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series. Bernard Harcourt is Julius Kreeger Professor of Law & Criminology and Chair and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

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February 24, 2011

This panel was recorded April 24, 2010 as part of the conference "Creating Capabilities," held at the University of Chicago Law School and organized by James Heckman, Martha Nussbaum and Robert Pollak.

Directions for Law and Policy: Social Norms, Families, Legislation, Courts
Once we have a sense of what our goals are and what forms of intervention might be effective, we still need to think about social and political structure: what can law do, by contrast to informal social norms and families?  In the realm of law, what roles can one see for courts, legislation, and administrative agencies?  For family policy and family privacy?

  • Chair: Eric Posner
  • Emily Buss
  • Steven Durlauf
  • Robert Ellickson