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.

March 13, 2014

Over 100 years ago, Chicago led the way in establishing separate courts for young people who committed crimes.  These Juvenile Courts, soon in operation in every state, had two interrelated aims: The first was to separate adolescent offenders from adult criminals.  The second aim was to help young offenders to grow up to become law-abiding citizens, although we knew much less than we thought we did about how to do this.  In recent years, we have learned a great deal from psychologists and brain scientists about how young people develop and what affects that development, and that knowledge has increasingly been reflected in law and practice within the juvenile justice system.  These insights have not, however, been brought to bear on the court process itself.  The focus of my research is on young people's experience with the court process, and how that experience can foster or impair their development.

A substantial body of social science focused on adults suggests that their experience in court had an important impact on their attitude about the law, generally, and their obligation to obey the law.  Stated very simply, if adults believe they have been shown respect in court and have had an opportunity to participate meaningfully in a fair process, they are more likely to think of the law and law enforcement as legitimate, and are more likely to feel obligated to obey the law.  Our understanding of child development, in general, and children's social development, in particular, predict that these "procedural justice" effects should be even stronger in children, and the limited studies looking at this effect, to date, offer some support for this prediction. If a court experience can have any developmental impact on young people, however, we should be very concerned about young people's current experience in juvenile court.  Even in courtrooms filled with conscientious professionals, the juvenile court process conveys a disregard for young people and prevents their meaningful engagement in a process purportedly designed to address their needs.  I bring together the optimism created by the procedural justice literature with a pessimistic portrayal of the current juvenile court process to argue for some experimentation with substantial reforms.

Emily Buss is Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded February 28, 2014, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

February 27, 2014

Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor Geoffrey Stone talks about his involvement in the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology. Organized by the Office of the Dean of Students and recorded on February 4, 2014.

February 13, 2014

Recorded on February 7, 2014, this session featured author Scott Turow as Plenary Speaker and Law School faculty Alison LaCroix, Judge Diane Wood, and Richard McAdams.

January 16, 2014

"Although everyone is familiar with the damage anger can do in both personal and public life, people tend to think that it is necessary for the pursuit of justice.  People who don't get angry when they are wronged seem weird to many people, lacking spine and self-respect.  And isn't it servile not to react with anger to great injustice, whether toward oneself or toward others?  On the other hand, recent years have seen three noble and successful freedom movements conducted in a spirit of non-anger: those of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela -- surely people who stood up for their self-respect and that of others, and who did not acquiesce in injustice.  My lecture argues that a close philosophical analysis of the emotion of anger can help us to see why it is fatally flawed from a normative viewpoint -- sometimes incoherent and sometimes based on bad values. In either case it is of dubious value in both life and the law.  I'll present my general view, and then show its relevance to thinking well about the criminal law and about transformational justice."

Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded January 14, 2014 as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

December 19, 2013

Is there a principled reason why religious obligations that conflict with the law are accorded special toleration while other obligations of conscience are not? In Why Tolerate Religion? (Princeton, 2013), Professor Leiter argues there are no good reasons for doing so, that the reasons for tolerating religion are not specific to religion but apply to all claims of conscience. He also argues that a government committed to liberty of conscience is not required by the principal of toleration to grant burden-shifting exemptions to laws that promote the general welfare.

Brian Leiter is Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago Law School.

This talk was recorded on November 19, 2013, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.

December 5, 2013

In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court dismantled one of the two pillars of the Voting Rights Act: Section 5, which had barred southern jurisdictions from changing their election laws unless they first received federal approval. The burning question now is what will happen to minority representation in the South in the absence of Section 5. In this talk, Prof. Stephanopoulos explores the differences between the defunct Section 5 and Section 2 of the VRA, which continues to apply nationwide. His sobering conclusion is that Section 2 provides substantially less protection with respect to both redistricting and franchise restrictions. The demise of Section 5 is therefore likely to reverse decades of progress for voting rights in the South.

Nicholas Stephanopoulos is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on November 13, 2013.

November 21, 2013

A panel of leading scholars discuss Douglas Baird's pathbreaking work on Contract Law published in his new book Reconstructing Contracts.

  • Avery Katz, Vice Dean and Milton Handler Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Stewart Macaulay, Malcolm Pitman Sharp Professor & Theodore W. Brazeau Professor, University of Wisconsin Madison Law School
  • Ariel Porat, The Alain Poher Chair in Private Law, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Moderated by Omri Ben-Shahar, Leo and Eileen Herzel Professor of Law and Economics and Kearney Director of the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics, University of Chicago Law School.

This panel was recorded on October 23, 2013.

November 7, 2013

Ronald Coase (1910-2013), of Nobel Prize and University of Chicago Law School fame, influences almost every discussion in the modern law school. In this opening talk of the 2013-14 "Chicago's Best Ideas" (CBI) series, Professor Levmore begins by explaining the Coase Theorem -- probably Chicago's very best and certainly best known idea -- and why its appearance was so startling. The talk then moves to its present-day legacy. Is all bargaining suspect either because of wealth inequality or because of the "endowment effect" of law itself? Why don't we see more bargaining around legal rules? Is most "corruption" to be welcomed as Coasian bargaining, inasmuch as those parties are also bargaining around a rule? Is capitalism in modern China, the subject of Coase's last book, simply an example of a Coasian bargain for government itself, or at least for the prevailing economic system?  Are all interest groups "just" Coasian? Saul Levmore is William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. This talk was recorded on October 22, 2013.

October 24, 2013

Harvey Levin is an American television producer, lawyer, legal analyst and celebrity reporter. He is the founder of celebrity gossip website, TMZ.com. He currently serves as Managing Editor and Executive Producer of TMZ Productions, Inc. 

Mr. Levin received his B.A. in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara  and his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1975. Following law school, he was an active attorney in California working in various legal roles in the entertainment industry -- most notably, he served as a legal reporter on KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where he reported on the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Mr. Levin later moved to New York to work as a legal analyst for the revival of The People's Court -- a show he had appeared on during the '80s and early '90s as a legal consultant. He later became host of the series in 1998.  Mr. Levin also served as creator and executive producer for Celebrity Justice from 2002 -- 2005. Harvey Levin then went on to launch TMZ.com which quickly took off to become one of the most-cited entertainment news sources, utilized by national network and local newsgathering organizations across the country.

This talk was recorded on October 14, 2013.

October 10, 2013

This talk was recorded on October 8, 2013, at the Law School's annual First Monday luncheon. Nicholas Stephanopoulos is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.