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.

November 17, 2015

It's birth control's fiftieth birthday! Professor Case will be discussing what Griswold—the landmark case that began the process of invalidating legal prohibitions on the use of birth control—looks like in the aftermath of Hobby Lobby and Obergefell.

Mary Anne Case is the Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law and convener of the Workshop on Regulating Family, Sex and Gender.

Presented by the Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the American Constitution Society on November 11, 2015.

November 10, 2015


  • Don Harmon, JD’95, Illinois State Senator
  • Dan Johnson, JD’00, Progressive Public Affairs
  • Blake Sercye, JD'11, Associate, Jenner & Block
  • Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Assistant Professor of Law

Hosted by the University of Chicago Law School’s Regional Alumni Committee at Skadden Arps in Chicago. Recorded October 13, 2015.

November 5, 2015

Lawmakers respond to constituents, seek higher office, have lofty goals, and even learn from their mistakes. But do they actually make the world a better place? In this lecture, the first of this year’s Chicago’s Best Ideas series, Professor Levmore examines some aspects of lawmaking that do not make their way into the law school curriculum. First, lawmakers may be forward-looking, but they have tools that are backward looking, or retroactive, and this combination can help us understand why some lawmaking is quite durable, while some of it falls apart both physically (like crumbling bridges) and conceptually (like conventional views about sex and marriage). Second, lawmakers might be rewarded when they innovate successfully, but they are penalized harshly for making changes that backfire. This trade-off helps us understand where we do or do not observe experiments and progress, ranging from Uber to health-care.

Saul Levmore is the William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law.

This Chicago's Best Ideas lecture was recorded on October 13, 2015.

October 27, 2015

James B. Comey, class of 1985, is the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Recorded on October 23, 2015, at the University of Chicago Law School.

October 23, 2015

Laura Weinrib, Assistant ​Professor ​of ​Law ​and ​Herbert ​and ​Marjorie ​Fried ​Teaching ​Scholar, is a 2003 graduate of Harvard Law School. She completed her PhD in history at Princeton University in 2011. In 2000, she received an AB in literature and an AM in comparative literature from Harvard University. After law school, Weinrib clerked for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. From 2009 to 2010, she was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at the New York University School of Law.

Recorded October 5, 2015, as part of the Law School’s First Mondays luncheon series.

July 17, 2015

Even for those among us who are not altogether convinced by Isaiah Berlin's famous essay "Two Concepts of Liberty," it has by now become commonplace to adopt a distinction between "negative" and "positive" liberties that largely coincides with the one he offered. In my lecture I defend the thesis that this bifurcation of the concept of freedom is incomplete in a significant respect, because it omits a third type, which I will call "social freedom." I proceed first by illustrating with some well-known examples how we must understand this third form of freedom, which cannot be performed by one subject alone, but rather requires the cooperation of others. In the second step I want to recall briefly the philosophical tradition in which this idea of "social freedom" has always had a central place. Finally, I delve into the systematic question of whether the suggested model of freedom in fact designates a third concept, which does not conform to the traditional bifurcated understanding.

Axel Honneth is a professor of philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and Columbia University, and the director of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt.

This talk, the Dewey Lecture in Law and Philosophy, was recorded on November 12, 2014.

June 29, 2015

At this law school, “law and economics” is a mantra. But what is the “economics” in “law and economics”? There is a tendency to see research on cognitive biases and bounded rationality (“behavioral economics”) as challenging or even overturning an approach using models of rational behavior (“neo-classical economics”). With the help of an analogy to physics, I argue that such a view disserves both the enterprise of neo-classical economics and the promise of behavioral economics, and I define present and future challenges for the economic analysis of law.

William H. J. Hubbard is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

This talk, the 2015 Coase Lecture in Law and Economics, was recorded on April 14, 2015.

June 12, 2015

After the Hobby Lobby and Citizens United decisions, a robust public debate has emerged over corporate constitutional rights. Prof. Huq discusses ongoing empirical research about how the Hobby Lobby case has influenced public perceptions not just of those rights, but also of the Court itself.

Aziz Z. Huq teaches and conducts research in constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal courts. A 1996 summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he received his law degree from Columbia Law School in 2001. At Columbia, he was awarded the John Ordronaux Prize, the Emil Schlesinger Prize, and the Charles Bathgate Beck Prize. Upon graduating, he clerked for Judge Robert D. Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2001 to 2002 and then for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States from 2003 to 2004.

Recorded on May 5, 2015, as part of the Chicago’s Best Ideas lecture series.

June 5, 2015

The notion of reasonable expectations filters in and out of many given areas of law. It is often derided as circular claim in which reasonable expectations are shaped by the law that they are supposed to shape. On the other hand, it is often treated, most notably under the Supreme Court’s now pivotal decision in Penn Central Transportation Co v. City of New York, as the linchpin of modern real property law, and has been used as well in other areas, including financial regulation and the law of searches and seizures. Both of these views are incorrect. Reasonable expectations can never be banned from the law, but they must be domesticated, where their primary role is to facilitate cooperation between people who otherwise are unable to coordinate their social behaviors.

Richard A. Epstein is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Law and Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. Epstein started his legal career at the University of Southern California, where he taught from 1968 to 1972. He served as Interim Dean of the Law School from February to June 2001. He is also the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University, and the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Recorded April 22, 2015, as part of the Chicago’s Best Ideas lecture series.

May 28, 2015

For over twenty-five years, federal courts of appeals have rebelled against every Supreme Court mandate that weakens the federal sentencing Guidelines. That rebellion has intensified since the Court dealt a blow to the Guidelines a decade ago by making them advisory, rather than mandatory. This ruling dramatically limited the courts of appeals’ authority to reverse district court sentences that deviate from the Guidelines. Rather than accepting this limitation on their power, the courts of appeals fought against it by overpolicing sentences that deviated from the Guidelines and underpolicing sentences that fell within the Guidelines. The Supreme Court has responded to these mutinies with stinging reversals that emphasize the district courts’ significant discretion and the advisory nature of the Guidelines. This talk discusses these ongoing battles between the courts of appeals and the Supreme Court, including a new revolt the courts of appeals are staging that violates not only Supreme Court precedent, but the federal sentencing statute and the Constitution as well. Because the courts of appeals are unlikely to back down, Professor Siegler calls on the Supreme Court to step in and stop this latest rebellion.

Alison Siegler is Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.

Recorded on April 13, 2015, as part of the Chicago’s Best Ideas lecture series.