The Words that Made Us with Akhil Reed Amar | March 18, 2022

March 18, 2022 – 12:00 pm – 1:15 p.m. |  Marshall Scholar Series, Discussion | $10

Join America’s leading constitutional scholar, Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling professor of law and political science at Yale University, for The Words that Made Us, America’s Constitutional Conversation 1760 – 1840, as part of the John Marshall Center’s Marshall Scholar Series, co-presented by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

When the US Constitution won popular approval in 1788, it was the culmination of thirty years of passionate argument over the nature of government. But ratification hardly ended the conversation. For the next half century, ordinary Americans and statesmen alike continued to wrestle with weighty questions in the halls of government and in the pages of newspapers. Should the nation’s borders be expanded? Should America allow slavery to spread westward? What rights should Indian nations hold? What was the proper role of the judicial branch?

In The Words that Made Us, Akhil Reed Amar unites history and law in a vivid narrative of the biggest constitutional questions early Americans confronted, and he expertly assesses the answers they offered. His account of the document’s origins and consolidation is a guide for anyone seeking to properly understand America’s Constitution today.

Decryption Originalism: The Lessons of Burr Dec. 2, 4 p.m. ET

December 2, 2021 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm |  Marshall Scholar Series, Discussion | $10 – $40

During the 1807 treason trial of Aaron Burr, with Chief Justice John Marshall presiding, the government asked Burr’s private secretary if he knew the cipher to an encrypted letter Burr had sent to a co-conspirator. Burr’s secretary invoked the privilege against self-incrimination, leading to an extensive debate on the meaning of the privilege and an opinion from the Chief Justice. Mobile devices may be the modern equivalent to a cipher letter. Can the government compel someone to unlock or decrypt a phone or digital device? This is the question recently before the Supreme Court and one that Professor Kevin C. Walsh, University of Richmond School of Law, and Professor Orin S. Kerr, UC Berkeley School of Law, will explore in “Decryption Originalism: The Lessons of Burr.” Free for JMC Members, students, teachers, and military; $10 for non-members; $40 for CLE credit*

*CLE credit pending approval

Supreme Court Review: John Marshall Citations in the October Term 2020

September 23, 2021 – 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm |  Marshall Scholar Series, Discussion

In October Term 2020, Supreme Court Justices cited opinions from the Marshall Court (1801-1835) 30 times across 16 different cases. University of Richmond Law Professor Kevin C. Walsh will walk audience members through vast and varied opinions on subjects ranging from eminent domain to congressional power to the Court’s denial of the emergency appeal to block the Texas abortion bill in this CLE and Marshall Scholar Series program (one hour of CLE credit; approval is pending). Moderated by Trevor S. Cox, Counsel, Hunton Andrews Kurth, and former Acting Solicitor General of Virginia.

Written Materials

Presentation Slides

Female African American Civil Rights Pioneers: The Road to Brown and Beyond

June 30, 2021 – 7 to 8 p.m. |  Marshall Scholar Series, Discussion

Professor Beth Hopkins, Wake Forest University Law (Retired). In conversation with JMC staff, Professor Beth Hopkins will share the stories of remarkable women who helped make it possible for African Americans to seek equal access to an education in the United States. In a presentation that will span two centuries, Hopkins will highlight women whose contributions ensured that the doctrine of “separate but equal” had no place in educational institutions.