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 25, 2008

In the absence of pre-cognitive superbeings and Tom Cruise, how are police and policy makers supposed to allocate scarce crime-fighting resources? There is a vibrant academic literature on predicting crime, with models of various types offered as the best way of estimating future crime rates. Many of these involve mapping software, which plots the past in the hopes of extrapolating to the future. Police use some of these techniques, but most are very crude, using things like weather or the location of liquor stores as "hot spots" to estimate crime rates. Police also use experience and gut instinct. All of the various methods, whether formal models or inside the head of the commissioner of police, are deployed in haphazard and isolated ways. In this lecture, Professor Henderson presents an alternative. M. Todd Henderson is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.This talk was recorded May 13, 2008 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

July 11, 2008

It has become commonplace in American political discourse for Christian evangelicals to assert that the United States was founded as a "Christian nation" and that in recent decades secularists have gained control and distorted our nation's founding traditions and values. In this lecture, Professor Geoffrey Stone examines the beliefs of the Framers on this question. What did they think about Christianity, about the role of Christianity in the American nation, and about the relationship between religion generally and self-governance? The answers to these questions are important not only to constitutional interpretation, but even more fundamentally to an understanding of who we are – and who we are supposed to be – as a nation. Geoffrey Stone is Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded April 21, 2008 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

June 30, 2008

Tom Ginsburg is Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on May 6, 2008 and was sponsored by the China Law Society.

June 13, 2008

Without question, the most distinctive feature of the modern social democratic state is the rise of administrative agencies, which at the federal level function as a shadowy Fourth Branch of government that fits uneasily into our constitutional scheme of separation of powers, and which at the state level oversee vast swaths of economic activity. Defenders of the current administrative setup claim the elaborate procedural safeguards built into today’s administrative law effectively blunt the risk of arbitrary power, whose exercise has always been in tension with the rule of law. In this talk, Professor Epstein will explain why he thinks the massive discretion routinely confided in administrative agencies is in fact inconsistent with the rule of law on a wide range of matters dealing with economic liberties, tort liability, private property, and the institutional autonomy of voluntary associations. Richard Epstein is James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Director of the Law and Economics Program at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on January 29, 2008 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas series.

May 30, 2008

This talk was presented as the University of Chicago's 2008 Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture. The Ryerson Lectures grew out of a 1972 bequest to the University by Nora and Edward L. Ryerson, a former Chairman of the Board. The University's faculty selects each Ryerson Lecturer based on a consensus that a particular scholar has made research contributions of lasting significance. It was recorded on May 14, 2008. Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School

May 9, 2008

Judge Abner Mikva and Jason Huber of the Appellate Advocacy Clinic at the University of Chicago's Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic discuss the work and history of the Appellate Advocacy project. This talk was recorded on April 14, 2008 as part of the Goodwin and Procter Clinics in Action Lunch Series.

May 2, 2008

At a time when so many different religious fundamentalisms are coming to the fore and demanding legal recognition, this talk will seek to vindicate feminist fundamentalism, defined as an uncompromising commitment to the equality of the sexes as intense and at least as worthy of respect as, for example, a religiously or culturally based commitment to female subordination or fixed sex roles. Both individuals and nation states can have feminist fundamentalist commitments, as the talk will illustrate. Mary Anne Case is Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded April 9, 2008 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

April 15, 2008

Why have we taken so few precautions in the face of threatening climate change? This CBI talk focuses, first, on the difficulty of dealing with a long-off threat in our political system. The question is how voters and their politicians can be encouraged to care about problems that can be deferred for consideration by a different electorate or set of taxpayers – but at much higher cost. We know that we should solve most long term problems sooner rather than later, but there are pressures that put off painful solutions. Professor Levmore draws on what we know about “median voters” and median citizens, for that matter, in order to hazard guesses about the coming battle among generations. In this “battle,” young voters will grow increasingly concerned about what is likely to occur as they age – but these voters do not yet have sufficient political power. In turn, arrangements among countries will be seen to depend in part on the disparate age profiles of countries. The topic, in other words, is global warming and the public choice problem of intergenerational bargaining. Saul Levmore is Dean of the Law School and William B. Graham Professor of Law. This talk was recorded February 12. 2008, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas series.

April 2, 2008

Greenhouse gas reductions would cost some nations much more than others, and benefit some nations far less than others. Significant reductions would impose especially large costs on the United States, and recent projections suggest that the U.S. has relatively less to lose from climate change. In these circumstances, what does justice require the U.S. to do? This talk by Eric Posner and Cass Sunstein on April 1, 2008 was presented by the University of Chicago Environmental Law Society and the International Law Society.

February 27, 2008

Richard Posner is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School and ajudge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. David Lat is the author of two popular legal blogs, "Above the Law" and "Underneath Their Robes." This Federalist Society discussion was recorded February 21, 2008, and was moderated by Professor of Law and Walter Mander Teaching Scholar Lior Strahilevitz.