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William Howard Taft Lecture on Constitutional Law

The lecture was established in 1986 to honor the contributions of the only person to have served as both President (1909-1913) and Chief Justice (1921-1930) of the United States.

William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati on Auburn Avenue in 1857. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati Law School, the genesis of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He served as Dean of the newly founded University of Cincinnati Law Department from 1896-1900 and was instrumental in the merger of this department and his alma mater in 1897.

Taft Lecturers


Heather K. Gerken
J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law
Yale Law School
Living Under Someone Else's Law

Ernest A. Young
The Alston & Bird Professor of Law
Duke University School of Law
Federalism as a Constitutional Principle

David A. Strauss
Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law
University of Chicago Law School
Constitutional Fundamentalism and the Power of the President: The Battle Over Recess Appointments

Steven Calabresi
Professor of Law
Northwestern University School of Law
The Right to Buy Health Insurance Across State Lines: Crony Capitalism and the Supreme Court

MIchael C. Dorf
Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law
Cornell University Law School
Tainted Law

Vicki C. Jackson
Camack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law
Georgetown University Law Center
"To Endure for Ages to Come": The U.S. Constitution in a Transnational Era

Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Irvine, School of Law
Government Speech and the First Amendment
(View Photo Gallery)

G. Edward White
David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Virginia School of Law
Revisiting the Foundational Ideas of the Framers' Constitution

Robert Post
David Boies Professor of Law
Yale Law School
Mr. Taft Takes Charge

Suzanna Sherry
Herman O. Loewstein Professor of Law
Vanderbilt University Law School
Democracy and the Death of Knowledge

Randy E. Barnett
Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Law
Boston University School of Law
Scalia's Infidelity: A Critique of "Faint-Hearted" Originalism

Peter H. Irons
Professor of Political Science
University of California at San Diego
War Powers: How the Imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution

Barry Friedman
Professor of Law
New York University School of Law
The Importance of Being Positive: The Nature and Function of Judicial Review

Pamela S. Karlan
Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law
Stanford Law School
Bullets and Ballots: The Exceptional History of the Right to Vote

Edward J. Larson
Richard B. Russell Professor of History and Law
University of Georgia
The Meaning of the Human Genome Project for Disability Law

Sylvia A. Law
Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law, Medicine & Psychiatry
New York University School of Law
The Practical Impact of the Supreme Court's Federalism Revolution

Kevin Boyle
Professor of Law
University of Essex
Establishing Accountability for Gross Violations of Human Rights: The Case of Turkey

Akhil R. Amar
Southmayd Professor of Law
Yale Law School
Presidents Without Mandates

Hon. Gilbert S. Merritt, Jr.
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
From the Scopes Trial to the Human Genome Project: Where is Biology Taking the Law?

John Frohnmayer
Former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
Praying the Constitution Survives

Lee C. Bollinger
Dartmouth College
Public Institutions of Culture and the First Amendment: The New Frontier

Alan K. Simpson
U.S. Senator, Wyoming
Supreme Court & Confirmation Process

Hon. Patricia M. Wald
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit
Upstairs/Downstairs at the Supreme Court: Implications of the 1991 Term for the Constitutional Work of the Lower Courts

Kenneth W. Starr
Solicitor General of the United States
William Howard Taft: The Chief Justice as Judicial Architect

Benno Charles Schmidt, Jr.
President, Yale University
Free Speech in the Age of Anxiety

Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor
U.S. Supreme Court
The Judiciary Act of 1789 and the American Judicial Tradition

Hon. Antonin Scalia
U.S. Supreme Court
Originalism: The Lesser Evil

Orrin Hatch
U.S. Senator, Utah
Modern Marbury Myths

Hon. Carl E. McGowan
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Inaugural Taft Lecture