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Constitutional Law Center Events

An integral part of the Constitutional Law Center's mission are the various lectures that invite the nation's top scholars, judges, and lawyers to campus.

Constitution Day Lecture

Each year, Drake University holds an event in honor of Constitution Day. The event usually involves a speech by a distinguished expert in constitutional law. The speaker also typically meets with the faculty at the law school. 

The 2019 Constitution Day lecture will be held in conjunction with the 2019 Fall Constitutional Law Symposium on September 21, 2019.  More information can be found below.

Distinguished Lecture Series

The Constitutional Law Center's Distinguished Lecture Series brings to campus the nation's leading constitutional scholars to engage students and faculty on the important issues of the day. Speakers deliver a formal lecture, teach a class, and meet with students in informal settings.

Upcoming speakers for the Distinguished Lecture Series include:

Mark Graber, University System of Maryland Regents Professor, Francis King Carey School of Law, University of Maryland
February 13, 2020
3 p.m.
Cartwright Hall, Room 213

Erika George, Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law, Quinney College of Law, The University of Utah
April 2, 2020
3 p.m.
Cartwright Hall, Room 213

Michael Rappaport, Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law; Director, Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism, University of San Diego School of Law
April 23, 2020
3 p.m.
Cartwright Hall, Room 213

More information will be forthcoming for each event as it becomes available.   

Judge James Grant Iowa Constitution Lecture Series

In 2012, the center initiated the Judge James Grant Iowa Constitution Lecture Series to feature prominent experts on the topic of the Iowa Constitution every other year. The event is made possible by the generous gifts of Patrick Grant, LW'76, and family. 

Constitutional Law Symposium

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.

Fall 2019 Constitutional Law Symposium and Constitution Day -- "Democracy and Dysfunction"

September 21, 2019

Professor Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School and Professor Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas School of Law have authored a book entitled “Democracy and Dysfunction”.  The symposium will begin with them discussing the book. 

The discussion will be followed by these additional speakers:

  • Francis H. Buckley, George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
  • Mark S. Kende, Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center; James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law; Professor of Law, Drake University Law School
  • Leah Litman, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • David Pozen, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Miguel Schor, Associate Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center; Professor of Law, Drake University Law School
  • Franita Tolson, Professor of Law, University of Southern California, Gould School of Law

More information will be forthcoming for the event as it becomes available.

Dwight D. Opperman Lecture series

In 1988, Dwight D. Opperman, LW'51, former chairman of West Publishing Company, endowed the lecture series to bring the country's top jurists and legal scholars to Drake. Since then, 11 U.S. Supreme Court justices have delivered the Opperman Lecture.

Other Sponsored Events

The Constitutional Law Center sponsors other events on occasion.  Sometimes the sponsorship involves a partnership with other organizations in the community.

20th Anniversary of ADL's Supreme Court Review (Webcast)

Speakers include:

  • Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean & Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, Berkeley Law
  • Paul Clement, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP & former U.S. Soclicitor General
  • Frederick Lawrence, Distinguished Lecturer at Georgetown Law Center and former president of Brandeis University
  • Dahlia Lithwich, Senior Editor at Slate

July 9, 2019
11 a.m.
Cartwright Hall, Room 206
Sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL-CRC) Plains States Region, Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, and Drake University Constitutional Law Center.


View a list of the Drake Constitutional Law Center's past events.

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