Con Law Symposium to explore President Obama’s constitutional law legacy

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Drake University Law School’s Constitutional Law Center will welcome experts from across the country to discuss “President Obama’s Constitutional Law Legacy” at the annual Constitutional Law Symposium on April 8.

The event is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in Cartwright Hall, Room 213. Registration and breakfast begins at 8 a.m.

During his term, President Barack Obama faced opposition to many of his initiatives, which caused him to invoke executive power. Among the issues in which executive power played a role were the Affordable Care Act, the use of drones, recess appointments, immigration policy, signing statements, and more. Many other constitutional issues arose, such as same-sex marriage.

The symposium will explore these issues and the constitutional law legacy that Obama left behind, as well as address President Donald Trump’s potential impact on this legacy.

“This topic is especially timely give some of President Obama's dramatic initiatives and the bold, persistent opposition he often received in a politically polarized environment,” said Mark Kende, the James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law and director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center. “We will also touch on President Trump's efforts to change some key Obama policies that raised constitutional issues.”

The symposium will feature the following speakers:

  • “RBG and the Supremes: Obama’s Legacy—The Rise of Women’s Voices on the Court” – Taunya Lovell Banks, Jacob A. France Professor of Equality, Francis King Carey School of Law, University of Maryland
  • “The Constitution in the Age of Governmental Dysfunction” – Eric Berger, Associate Dean for Faculty and Professor of Law, University of Nebraska College of Law
  • “Live by the Executive Pen, Die by the Executive Pen?” – John Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Chapman University
  • “Change that May Be Dangerous to Believe In: The Problematic Constitutional Legacy of President Obama” – Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, George Mason University
  • Closing Remarks – Stephen Rapp, Distinguished Fellow, The Hague Institute for Global Justice and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Prevention of Genocide

Registration is $15 per person (free for Drake and Dorsey & Whitney affiliated individuals). Register online at 2017drakeconlaw.eventbrite.com. For an additional $10, attendees can receive a copy of the Drake Law Review that includes the symposium proceedings.

The Constitutional Law Symposium is sponsored by the Dorsey & Whitney law firm with support from U.S. Congressman Neal Smith.

For questions, contact Sara Hughes at 515-271-2988 or sara.hughes@drake.edu.


The Drake Constitutional Law Center is one of only four constitutional law programs established by the U.S. Congress and funded by the federal government. The center's mission is to foster study of the U.S. Constitution and its roots, formation, principles, and development.

The annual Constitutional Law Symposium invites scholars, judges, and lawyers from across the country to discuss a timely constitutional issue. The proceedings are published in the Drake Law Review.

Learn more about the Drake Constitutional Law Center.


For more news, visit the Drake Law News Archive.

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