Constitutional Law Institute

Created in 2020, the Constitutional Law Institute will support research and scholarship on longstanding constitutional issues as an integral part of the Law School’s scholarly and research mission. The Institute also shares the Law School’s commitment to free speech and intellectual inquiry that is independent of partisan fashions. The Institute will promote rigorous analysis of constitutional issues and then share those ideas more broadly with the general public. The Institute will host events, activities, and visitors throughout the coming years.

How Do We Interpret the Constitution?

Professors William Baude and Farah Peterson along with Stephen Sachs from Duke Law discuss legal principles for interpreting the Constitution, dating from today back to the Founding. Hosted by the Constitutional Law Institute and recorded on Constitution Day (September 17) 2020.

Bridget Fahey, Federalism by Contract, 129 Yale L. J. (2020).

Genevieve Lakier, Imagining an Antisubordinating First Amendment, 119 Colum. L. Rev. (2018).

William Baude and Stephen E. Sachs, Grounding Originalism, 113 Northwestern University Law Review 1455 (2019).

Aziz Z. Huq and Tom Ginsburg, How to Lose a Constitutional Democracy, 65 UCLA Law Review, Forthcoming.

More Publications

William Baude

Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Constitutional Law Institute

Libby Seguin

Academic Legal Center Manager, Center on Law and Finance and the Constitutional Law Institute

In Federalist 37, James Madison conceded that even the best lawmakers cannot write perfectly clear laws. “All written laws,” whether the Constitution or in statutes, “are considered as more or less obscure and equivocal, until their meaning be liquidated and ascertained by a series of particular discussions and adjudications”. These discussions happen not just in courts but in the course of actual administration.