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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Sep 17, 2018

Bitter controversy consistently surrounds our nation’s judicial decisions concerning the constitutional rights of students in public schools. The Supreme Court has weighed in on numerous cultural anxieties that divide American society—from racial segregation to unauthorized immigration, from antiwar protests to compulsory flag salutes, from economic inequality to teacher-led prayer. With insight from his book The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind, law professor Justin Driver maintains that since the 1970s the Supreme Court has regularly abdicated its responsibility for protecting students’ constitutional rights. He was joined in conversation with law professor Lisa Manheim to highlight gripping personal narratives behind landmark legal clashes. Listen in as Driver and Manheim survey the fraught legal landscape surrounding our nation’s public schools and warn us that by failing to honor the rights of our students, we threaten our basic constitutional order.

Justin Driver is the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and former clerk for Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Sandra Day O’Connor. A recipient of the American Society for Legal History’s William Nelson Cromwell Article Prize, Driver has a distinguished publication record in the nation’s leading law reviews. He has also written extensively for lay audiences, including pieces in SlateThe AtlanticThe Washington Post, and The New Republic, where he was a contributing editor. Driver is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Constitution Society’s Academic Advisory Board, and is also an editor of The Supreme Court Review.

Professor Lisa Manheim writes in the areas of election law, constitutional law, and civil procedure. Her scholarship has been published in the Iowa Law Review, the Boston University Law Review, and others. These works explore questions of federalism and institutionalism in the context of election law and the courts, with a particular focus on procedure and the mechanics of adjudication.

Recorded live at University Lutheran Church by Town Hall Seattle on Thursday, September 13, 2018.