Law School to host “Federalism and Its Future” conference, February 10-12, 2011

Nationally and internationally acclaimed scholars and lawyers will discuss recent significant scholarship on the topic of federalism, both in the United States and abroad, at a three-day conference, “Federalism and Its Future,” hosted at the University of Texas School of Law on February 10–12, 2011.

UT Law professors Sanford Levinson, Stefanie Lindquist, and Dan Rodriguez organized the conference on federalism, the legal protection of significant decision-making by subnational units—such as states or provinces—that can act entirely independently of the national government. 

“The topic of federalism is of continuing interest to lawyers, political scientists, and political theorists, not to mention, of course, pundits and practicing politicians,” Levinson said. “The conference should be a truly rewarding encounter of some of the most interesting people in the contemporary academy (including some of our own colleagues) about an issue that remains, for better or for worse, central to the American constitutional system and ongoing political argument.” 

The conference—which is free and open to the public—kicks off with an endowed lecture by Professor Vicki C. Jackson of Georgetown University Law Center titled “Understanding U.S. Federalism: The Warren Court and Post World War II Models of Constitutional Legitimacy” on Thursday, February 10, in UT Law’s Eidman Courtroom (2.306) from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Jackson, whose expertise includes federal courts, constitutional law, and comparative constitutional law, served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000–2001. She is currently a visiting professor at Harvard Law School.

The conference will continue on Friday and Saturday, February 11–12 at the Law School with panels focused on significant recent works on federalism.  Authors of major books and articles (both published and forthcoming) have been invited to have their work “presented” by a discussant and then opened to general discussion. Some of the books and articles are “pro-federalism” such as the recent books by Jenna Bednar, a political scientist, or Michael Greve of the American Enterprise Institute. Others, like the recent book coauthored by University of California, Berkeley, Law School Professor Malcolm Feeley and Professor Ed Rubin of Vanderbilt University Law School are decidedly skeptical.

UT Law professors participating in the conference as discussants or moderators include Lynn Baker, Frank Cross, Justin Driver, Willy Forbath, Stefanie Lindquist, Dan Rodriguez, Wendy Wagner, and Louise Weinberg.

For a complete schedule of events, go to the “Federalism and Its Future” conference Web site. 

Questions about the conference may be directed to the conference administrator, Kim Simpson, at or 512-232-1302.

Media contact: Laura Castro, UT Law Communications, 512-232-1229,