24th Nathanson Lecture: "Originalism: Lessons From Some Things That Go Without Saying"

This event occurred in the past

24th Nathanson Lecture: "Originalism: Lessons From Some Things That Go Without Saying"

This event occurred in the past

Date and Time

  • Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.


Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Peace & Justice Theatre

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




Robert Bennett
Nathaniel L. Nathanson Professor of Law and Former Dean of Northwestern University School of Law

The lecture explores the possibilities and limitations of what is called "originalism" in constitutional interpretation, the attempt to restrain interpretation by reference to the constitutional text and the "meanings" originally associated with that text. There is a large literature on this subject, but rather little attention in the discussions thus far to things that the text leaves unsaid. The lecture concentrates on three matters about which there are different sorts of "silences" in the text itself or in the interpretive stance of federal courts, the role of political parties, the meaning of a "republican form of government," and the role to be played by presidential electors.


The University of San Diego School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider and certifies that this activity is approved for one hour of general credit.

About the Nathaniel L. Nathanson Memorial Lecture Series

The Nathaniel L. Nathanson Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1984 to honor the esteemed law professor who devoted his life to the law and legal education. This lecture series brings distinguished speakers to the University of San Diego to discuss issues of national significance.

Nathanson, a graduate of Yale University, Yale Law School and Harvard Law School, served as law clerk to the Honorable Julian Mack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as well as to the Honorable Louis D. Brandeis of the Supreme Court of the United States. He taught law at Northwestern University School of Law from 1936 to 1977, where he was named professor emeritus. That same year, he was named a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego. He spent alternate semesters at the two law schools until his death in 1983. Also receiving the benefit of his wisdom were Stanford University, Rutgers University, the University of Washington, Arizona State University and the University of Tokyo.

Nathanson was best known for his work in the areas of administrative law, constitutional law, civil liberties, international law and human rights. In these and other areas, he authored or served as editor of seven books and had published almost 100 major articles, reviews and papers. He continued to pursue these interests through service to government, the American Society of Legal Studies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Constitutional Convention of Palau, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

The University of San Diego greatly benefited from the presence of this eminent professor and is pleased to present this lecture series in his memory.

Robert Bennett

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Warren Hall, Room 201
5998 Alcalá Park
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