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.

May 1, 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 14, 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 1, 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.

February 22, 2008

Richard Epstein is James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. This talk, which discusses Riegel v. Medtronic and Rowe v. New Hampshire, was recorded February 21, 2008 at the request of the Federalist Society.

January 29, 2008

Robert E. Goodin is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and of Social & Political Theory in the Research School of Social Sciences at Australian National University. This talk was recorded January 16, 2008 as the 2007-2008 John Dewey Lecture on Jurisprudence. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, or so we are told. But why on earth not? The statute books run to hundreds of volumes. How can an ordinary citizen know what all is in them? The best way might be for law (at least in its wide-scope duty-conferring aspects) to track broad moral principles that ordinary citizens can know and apply for themselves. In contrast to more high-minded and deeply principled arguments, this epistemic argument for legal moralism is purely pragmatic – but importantly so. For law to do what law is supposed to do, which is to be action-guiding, people need to be able to intuit without detailed investigation what the law is for most common and most important cases of their conduct, and to intuit when their intuitions are likely to be unreliable and hence that they need to investigate further what the law actually is.

January 23, 2008

Anup Malani is Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded January 16, 2008 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas Lecture Series. Much of current scholarship views corporate philanthropy managerial waste or profiteering. In this talk, Professor Malani argues that both views are correct, and incomplete. Corporate philanthropy is the corporation’s entry into the market for private financing of public goods, also called the production of “warm glow.” This market was previously dominated by non-profit charities and the government. The feature that distinguishes corporate production of warm glow from other goods is that the corporation’s shareholders and workers are also its consumers. (Would you rather own or work for Google or Altria?) The key choices for the consumers of warm glow are whether to purchase from corporations or their competitors, and whether to do this via ownership, employment or product purchase. The talk will discuss the competitive advantage of corporations over charities and the government, and the importance of tax law in determining how consumers purchase warm glow from corporations. © 2008 The University of Chicago.

December 6, 2007

Dr. Ela Bhatt, recipient of the University of Chicago's 2007 William Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service, presented a public lecture on November 27th in the Weymouth Kirkland Courtroom. Ela R. Bhatt is widely recognized as one of the world’s most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. Known as the “gentle revolutionary” she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of India’s poorest and most oppressed women workers, with Gandhian thinking as her source of guidance. In 1972, Dr. Bhatt founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) – a trade union which now has more than 1,000,000 members. Founder Chair of the Cooperative Bank of SEWA, she is also founder and chair of Sa-Dhan (the All India Association of Micro Finance Institutions in India) and founder-chair of the Indian School of Micro-finance for Women. Dr. Bhatt was a Member of the Indian Parliament from 1986 to 1989, and subsequently a Member of the Indian Planning Commission. She founded and served as chair for Women’s World Banking, the International Alliance of Home-based Workers (HomeNet), and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing, Organizing (WIEGO). She also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation for a decade. Dr. Bhatt has received several awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Right Livelihood Award, the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award, and the Légion d’honneur from France. She has also received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, the University of Natal and other academic institutions. In 2007, Dr. Bhatt was named a member of The Elders, an international group of leaders whose goals include catalyzing peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts, articulating new approaches to global issues that are causing or may cause immense human suffering, and sharing wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world. The Benton Medal The William Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service is given to individuals who have rendered distinguished public service in the field of education. This field includes “not only teachers but also . . . everyone who contributes in a systematic way to shaping minds and disseminating knowledge.” Previous Benton Medal recipients include John Callaway, Katharine Graham, and Senator Paul Simon.

November 9, 2007

Mark Heyrman is Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on November 6, 2007 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas Series. © 2007 The University of Chicago Law School. "In the 1970's most states tightened their standards for involuntary commitment. During the past fifteen years the movement has been in the opposite direction--relaxing those standards. This talk will apply ideas developed by former Law School Dean Norval Morris to explore the effects (if any) these changes have had and will have on the number of persons involuntarily confined in psychiatric hospitals and why other institutional arrangements are substantially more important in explaining past and future fluctuations in the number of such commitments."

November 1, 2007

Cass Sunstein is Karl N. Llewellyn Dist. Service Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on October 23, 2007 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas Series. © 2007 The University of Chicago Law School. "What does the Second Amendment mean? The Supreme Court has not told us, and the history seems shrouded in mist. Professor Sunstein will argue that as a matter of history, the Second Amendment probably does not create an individual right, because it was designed to protect state militias. Modern readers have immense difficulty in recovering the original meaning, because our circumstances are radically different from those of the founding. He will also argue, however, that the Court should not reject an individual right, in part because the nation is so polarized. The discussion will have many implications for constitutional interpretation and the role of the Court in political life."