WWS Calendar

Walter F. Murphy Lecture in American Constitutionalism: The Constitution as Our Story

Oct 17, 2019 04:30PM to 06:00PM
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Open to the Public
The Honorable Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School

This very special annual lecture celebrates the work of the late Walter F. Murphy, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus, Princeton University, and his dedication to excellence in the study of American and comparative constitutional law theory. A decade after joining the Princeton faculty, Professor Murphy was named the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, succeeding Woodrow Wilson, Edward S. Corwin, and Alpheus T. Mason in one of the Nation's most prestigious Chairs.

Judge Barrett provided this description of the 2019 Murphy Lecture: The story of America’s history — its pivotal moments, its triumphs, and its disgraces — can’t be told without the Constitution. The Constitution’s amendments are documentary evidence of the arc of American history, and arguments about the Constitution have figured prominently in most of the nation’s great debates. This is true of slavery, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement, but it is true of other issues, including western expansion, war, contested elections, and even prohibition. Because decisions of national consequence must fit within the terms of our supreme law, the history of America is necessarily intertwined with the history of the Constitution.

The Honorable Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in November 2017. Before joining the bench, she served on the faculty of the Notre Dame Law School, where she continues to teach. Judge Barrett earned her J.D., summa cum laude, from Notre Dame, where she was a Kiley Fellow; earned the Hoynes Prize, the Law School’s highest honor; and served as executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review.  She clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. As an associate at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin in Washington, D.C., Barrett litigated constitutional, criminal, and commercial cases in both trial and appellate courts. From 2010-2016, she served by appointment of the Chief Justice on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Judge Barrett has published widely in the areas of federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.  Her scholarship in these fields has been published in leading journals, including the Columbia, Virginia, and Texas Law Reviews.