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 15, 2012

From the scores of briefs to the extended oral arguments to the widely watched announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision in June, the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius – more commonly known as the healthcare case – has received unprecedented attention from the media, politicians, and the general public.  In upholding most provisions of the legislation under Congress’s taxing power but striking down a key section as beyond the scope of the spending power, the Court’s decision has been viewed by commentators as, variously, a return to meaningful limits on Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, a repudiation of the New Deal constitutional settlement, an affirmation of that settlement, and an act of judicial statesmanship by Chief Justice John Roberts.  But just how significant of a change does the decision portend – in institutions, doctrine, and federalism itself?  The talk will situate the healthcare decision in constitutional history, consider trends in the Court’s federalism case law, and speculate about the future direction of the doctrine. This talk was recorded on October 1, 2012.

November 1, 2012

In 2010 and 2011 Professors Saul Levmore and Martha Nussbaum gave several talks about the book, The Offensive Internet, a collection of essays about apparent abuses of anonymity and freedom from liability on the Internet. While those topics remain relevant, and Internet providers continue to have unusual immunity, the situation is complicated by the ubiquity of smartphones, apps, and cameras that intrude, to be sure, but also inform and monitor. The focus may have moved from the Offensive Internet to the Intrusive Internet. Should we celebrate new technologies in this regard, and be prepared to live with some offense and intrusion, or ought we be anxious and prepared to regulate?

This talk was recorded May 4, 2012 at the University's annual Loop Luncheon.

October 18, 2012

The 2012 Fulton Lecture in Legal History was given on May 2, 2012 by James C. Oldham, St. Thomas More Professor of Law and Legal History at Georgetown Law.

October 4, 2012

Geoffrey Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor and former dean (’93–’02) at the University of Chicago Law School, discusses the role of freedom and education in America today. Stone is one of the world’s foremost scholars of the Constitution. His most recent books are Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark (2007) and War and Liberty: An American Dilemma (2007). His book Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (2004) received numerous national awards. This event was recorded April 19, 2012 and is part of the University of Chicago Graham School's Great Conversations lecture series and is cosponsored by the Civic Knowledge Project.

September 20, 2012

Schools teach patriotism all the time, but many people think that this is a bad idea. Patriotic rituals may convey misplaced and hierarchical values; they may coerce conscience; and they may promote a dangerous type of uncritical homogeneity. On the other hand, it seems difficult to motivate sacrifices of self-interest for the common good without patriotic emotion. Prof. Nussbaum argues that there is a way of negotiating these difficulties and teaching a type of patriotism that is rooted in good values, protective of conscience, and friendly to critical thinking and dissent. Prof. Nussbaum illustrates her argument from the history of the U. S. and India, discussing Lincoln, King, Gandhi, and Nehru. This talk was recorded on April 10, 2012, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series and was sponsored by Winston & Strawn LLP. Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School.

September 6, 2012

A popular type of consumer transaction is called "No Contract." Businesses lure consumers with the "no contract" assurance - a promise that consumer can walk away anytime, without any commitment. This scheme is increasingly common in cable and phone services, health clubs, security services, and other transactions that used to require minimum duration. What is a “No Contract” contract? What does the misnomer “No Contract” intend to signal to consumers? What effects does the “No Contract” arrangement have on other elements of the transaction? What do consumers have to give up in order to enjoy the “No Contract” guarantee? Is it overall good for consumers? In this talk, recorded for the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series on March 27, 2012, Professor Ben-Shahar discussed the place of “No Contracts” in broader context of consumer protection, and his ongoing work on the failings – and the promise – of consumer law.

August 23, 2012

On April 3, 2012, the Law School hosted a timely discussion with Sam Zell, one of the world’s leading investors, on "The Economy, Law and Entrepreneurialism." Zell, whose investment interests span real estate, energy, logistics, transportation, media, and health care, was joined in conversation with Dean Michael Schill.

Zell is one of the most insightful analysts of economic trends, whose successful investment strategy has made him a perennial member of Forbes billionaire list. Zell founded Equity Group Investments (EGI), the private entrepreneurial investment firm, more than 40 years ago. EGI created one of the largest real estate investment trusts (REITs) in history. He also is chairman and co-founder of Equity International. EI has invested in 22 portfolio companies, including homebuilding, retail, warehousing, distribution, office, hospitality, self-storage, senior living and specialty finance sectors spanning Latin America, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe.

Previously, Mr. Zell served as chairman for Equity Office Properties Trust (EOP), the largest office REIT in the U.S. EOP was sold in February 2007 to The Blackstone Group for $39 billion in the largest private equity transaction in history at the time.

Among Zell’s investment “fundamentals” are these maxims: “When everyone is going right, look left.” “Look for good companies with bad balance sheets.” “Liquidity=Value.” “Understand the downside.” Mr. Zell serves on the JPMorgan National Advisory Board; the Eurohypo International Advisory Board; the President’s Advisory Board at the University of Michigan; the Visitor’s Committee at the University of Michigan Law School; and with the combined efforts of the University of Michigan Business School, he established the Zell/Lurie Entrepreneurial Center. Mr. Zell’s continual assistance to Michigan’s MBA program has also enhanced the Business School’s Polish Studies Program. He was appointed a DeRoy Visiting Professor in Honors at the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan. He is a long-standing supporter of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Real Estate Center, and has endowed the Samuel Zell/Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at Wharton. Mr. Zell has also endowed the Northwestern University Center for Risk Management.

A native Chicagoan, Mr. Zell is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School. He began his career in real estate as an undergraduate at the University by managing apartment buildings throughout Southeast Michigan.

August 9, 2012

This introduction to the Law School clinical programs was recorded on May 18, 2012. It included representatives from the following clinics:

  • Young Center Immigrant Children’s Advocacy Clinic – Maria Woltjen
  • Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship – Beth Kregor
  • Housing Initiative Clinic – Jeff Leslie
  • Corporate Lab Clinic – David Zarfes and Michael Bloom
  • Poverty and Housing Law Clinic – Larry Wood
  • Gendered Violence and the Law Clinic – Neha Lall
  • Prosecution and Defense Clinic – Jeff Leslie
July 26, 2012

The 2011-12 Dewey Lecture in Law and Philosophy, recorded on February 29, 2012, was presented by Elizabeth Anderson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan.

Critics of every social insurance proposal in the U.S., including recent health care reform, have called them socialist attacks on private property. To be sure, social insurance is a central pillar of social democracy, and social democratic parties originated in a socialist critique of capitalism. Yet the equation of social insurance with socialism is doubly ironic. The first realistic proposal to abolish poverty by means of universal social insurance was Thomas Paine, who explicitly advanced his scheme as a defense of private property against socialist revolutionaries. And the first actual social insurance scheme was introduced by Otto von Bismarck, who advanced it against the German Social Democratic Party, which opposed his plan. This talk will consider how Paine grounded the justification of social insurance in a neo-Lockean theory of private property rights, and explore the implications of the ironic inversion of social insurance from a bulwark of to a perceived assault on capitalism.

July 12, 2012

This introduction to the Law School clinical programs was recorded on May 17, 2012. It included representatives from the following clinics:

  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic – Randolph Stone
  • Mental Health Advocacy Clinic – Mark Heyrman
  • Employment Discrimination Clinic – Jeff Leslie            
  • Exoneration Project Clinic – Tara Thompson
  • Abrams Environmental Law Clinic – Mark Templeton
  • Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic – Craig Futterman
  • Federal Criminal Justice Clinic – Alison Siegler