Upcoming Conference: Natural Rights and the American Constitutional Experience
The Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy at Georgetown University Presents a Conference:
Natural Rights and the American Constitutional Experience
Friday, January 30, 2009, 9:30am – 3:30pm
Copley Formal Lounge
The Declaration of Independence states that the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are self-evident, and today, the use of rights language is dominant in U.S. political rhetoric and courts. The U.S. seems to be a regime based on rights. In this conference we bring together some of the best thinkers to discuss the idea of natural rights in relation to our American Constitution and way of life. They will address such pressing questions that are at the forefront of our American political process: What is the origin of natural rights and how are they related to the rights in the Constitution? Was the Constitution established to protect natural rights, create them, or promote natural law? How should Supreme Court Judges view natural rights in relation to their decision making on Constitutional cases?
9:30am-11:00am Panel 1: The Origin and Nature of Natural Rights and the U.S. Constitution
Brian Tierney, Cornell University: Sources of the American Idea of Natural Rights: Some Competing Narratives
Robert Kraynak, Colgate University: Ordered Liberty at the American Founding: Natural Rights in Cultural Context
Respondent: Steven Brust, Georgetown University
11:00am- 11:15am Break
11:15am – 12:45pm Panel 2: Perspectives on the Constitution, Natural Rights, and Natural Law
Robert George, Princeton University: What is Natural Law?
Randy Barnett, Georgetown Law School: Was Lochner Right? Natural Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment
Moderator: Patrick Deneen, Georgetown University
12:45pm-2:00pm Lunch with Keynote Address
Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute (begins at 1:00pm):
Belief in a Certain Type of God as a Foundation of the Natural Right of Conscience
RSVP required for Lunch
2:00pm – 3:30pm Panel 3: Natural Rights, the Bill of Rights and Judges: Theory and Practice
Christopher Wolfe, McInerny Center for Thomistic Studies: Natural Rights, the Constitution, and Judicial Review
Charles Lugosi, Ave Maria Law School: Why Judges Should Understand the True Nature of the Rule of Law to Effectively Interpret the Constitution to Protect the Rights of All Persons.
Respondent: Phillip Muñoz, Tufts University
Please RSVP to email@example.com or (202) 687-8501. RSVP is required for the Lunch and Keynote Address.
For our flyer announcing the event, please click here.