Audio Archives

From intimate lunchtime talks by our world-renowned faculty to academic conferences curated by student organizations, the Law School is continually host to some of the most groundbreaking ideas in the legal academy and beyond. Since 2005, the Law School has been committed to sharing these ideas with not only our campus community but with the world at large by making available free audio recordings of selected events. Please use the filters below to find a recording that might interest you, or use the page links at the bottom to browse through the list at your leisure.

  • May 6, 2010

    The recent health care bill represents what is likely to turn out to be the most comprehensive health care reform ever, Medicare included. Yet many of its provisions were included in the last minute without serious discussion or debate. And those provisions that have been in all versions of...

  • April 8, 2010

    International agencies used to measure the quality of life in a nation simply by looking at GDP per capita. Recently that approach has been challenged by an approach that focuses on people's "capabilities": what they are actually able to do and be, their substantial freedoms, in some central...

  • March 25, 2010

    Art. V of the Constitution makes the formal process of constitutional amendment extremely difficult - in fact far too difficult according to most constitutional scholars. But does it matter? And if so, what can we do about it?

  • February 11, 2010

    The law has always treated children differently, and these differences in treatment are largely attributed to differences in capacity. Children lack the decision making ability and the self-control of adults, the cases and commentary explains, and therefore should be given less control over...

  • December 3, 2009

    Legal scholars praise "incrementalism" and "minimalism" in law, which is to say the idea that law should progress in small steps and lawmakers should intervene less rather than more. But the acclaim for these approaches ignores the role of interest groups in our legal system.

  • November 19, 2009

    What work do the categories "the free market" and "regulation" do for us? Why do we incarcerate one out of every one hundred adults? These seemingly unrelated questions, it turns out, are deeply interconnected. The categories of free and regulated markets emerged as an effort to make sense of...

  • September 24, 2009

    This Chicago's Best Ideas lecture was recorded May 2, 2009, as part of the Law School's annual reunion festivities. Douglas Baird is Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

  • August 27, 2009

    We are all familiar with the Nanny State: governments telling us what we can put in our bodies, to wear seatbelts, not to talk on our cell phones while driving, and so on. But governments are not the only institutions that act paternalistically—we are...

  • June 4, 2009

    The Enlightenment took us from a world of Empire to an Age of Reason and equality in the public sphere. But it left the private spheres of culture and religion in the Dark Ages of imposition and unreason. In the Enlightenment worldview, freedom in the public sphere is freedom itself.

  • April 23, 2009

    What will the election of Barack Obama mean for the Supreme Court of the United States? To answer this question, it is necessary to understand the current make-up of the Court and its direction. What are the predispositions of the current Justices? What do we mean today by the terms "liberal"...