University of Notre Dame


The Notre Dame Law Review has a long tradition of hosting symposia that bring together well-respected and diverse speakers around a variety of timely and thought-provoking legal topics. Held each fall semester, the annual Symposium provides an environment for intellectual engagement and an opportunity to wrestle with pressing legal issues. Traditionally, each participant will publish an article in the Law Review’s annual Symposium issue.

Volume 91 Symposium: Coming Fall 2015

On Thursday, November 5 and Friday, November 6, Volume 91 of the Notre Dame Law Review will host its annual Symposium. This year’s Symposium is titled Religious Liberty and the Free Society: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dignitatis Humanae. The event celebrates and examines the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom and is part of the 2015-16 Notre Dame Forum.

The Symposium will begin with an address from Bishop Daniel E. Flores on Thursday, November 5. Bishop Flores currently serves as the Bishop of Brownsville, Texas.

The Symposium panelists will present their works on Friday, November 6.  Panelists include Professors Thomas Berg of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Paul Horwitz of the University of Alabama School of Law, Christopher Lund of Wayne State University Law School, Mark Movsesian and Marc DeGirolami of St. John’s University School of Law, Brett Scharffs of Brigham Young University Law School, Steven Smith of the University of San Diego School of Law, Anna Su of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and Richard Garnett and Phillip Muñoz of Notre Dame Law School.  The panels will be moderated by Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York.

The Symposium will feature a keynote address from John H. Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America.

Past Symposium topics and participants have included:

The Treaty Power After Bond v. United States: Interpretative and Constitutional Constraints, Symposium 2014–2015

On November 14, 2014 the Notre Dame Law Review, in conjunction with the Notre Dame Program on Constitutional Structure, hosted its annual Symposium, titled The Treaty Power After Bond v. United States: Interpretative and Constitutional Constraints. Participants included Duncan Hollis, Saikrishna Prakash, Michael Ramsey, Julian Ku, David Sloss, Paul Stephan, Roger Alford, Edward Swaine, and Ingrid Wuerth. Mr. Paul D. Clement, partner at Bancroft PLLC and lead counsel for Carol Bond before the Supreme Court gave the Symposium’s keynote address.


The Evolution of Theory: Discerning the Catalysts of Constitutional Change, Symposium 2013–2014

The Symposium delved into the factors of constitutional doctrinal shifts. It focused on the question of whether the evolution of constitutional theory is driven by external pressures—such as economics, politics, culture, and social movements—or by an internal dialogue about constitutional meaning. Presenters looked to shed light on this question by exploring the most salient points of constitutional development and change in the 20th century. Participants included David Bernstein, Barry Cushman, Samuel Olken, Lucas Powe, Brad Snyder, Ryan Williams, Kurt Lash, Stephen Sachs, Keith Whittington, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, gave the Symposium’s keynote address.


The American Congress: Legal Implications of Gridlock, Symposium 2012–2013

The Symposium focused broadly on congressional gridlock, exploring various aspects of the issue from partisanship and civility to the utilization of the appropriations process to legislate. These and other facets of the topic were discussed against the backdrop of the 2012 election and current congressional inaction. Participants included Professors Josh Chafetz, Barry Cushman, Michael Gerhardt, Gerard Magliocca, Rebecca Kysar, John C. Roberts, Carl Tobias, George K. Yin, John Nagle, Michael Teter, Franita Tolson, and Sandra Zellmer. Former United States Congressman Thomas Allen gave the keynote address.


Educational Innovation and the Law, Symposium 2011–2012

The Symposium considered a wide range of legal issues related to education, including the education gap, school choice, charter schools, labor issues, and the effect of the current state and local fiscal crisis on public education. Two panels of legal scholars presented and discussed issues surrounding educational innovation and the law. Participants included Professors Michael Heise, Nicole Garnett, Jim Dwyer, Roderick Hills, Joseph Viteritti, Andrea Matwyshyn, Rosemary Salomone, Lia Epperson, and Peter Schuck. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave the keynote address.


Creativity and the Law, Symposium 2010–2011

The Symposium was dedicated to the relationship and role of the law in cultivating, focusing, and defending creativity. It considered a range of interdisciplinary questions such as, “What is creativity, and how does it map onto legal concepts like originality, novelty, or non-obviousness?” and inquired into the functionality of law, particularly intellectual property, in promoting creative enterprises. The Symposium brought together experts from several fields, including Rebecca Tushnet, Michael Madison, Funmi Arewa, Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, Gregory Mandel, Jessica Silbey, David Galenson, Mario Biagioli, Sean Seymore, Jeanne Fromer, Abraham Drassinower, and Keith Sawyer.