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"We the People:" Constitution Day 2008


September 17, 2008
University of Minnesota Law School
Lockhart Hall (Room 25)
12:15 – 1:15 p.m.

One CLE credit.



I.   Introduction
Brett McDonnell, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

II.   "Tort Law and the Supreme Court"
Alexandra Klass, Associate Professor of Law.

This talk will discuss the Supreme Court's recent decisions involving federal preemption of state tort law suits and place that discussion in the larger context of the role of state tort law in today's federal regulatory state.

III.   "Proportionality Principles in Recent Supreme Court Criminal Cases"
Richard Frase, Benjamin N. Berger Professor of Criminal Law.

In Kennedy v. Louisiana, decided last June, the Supreme Court once again held that proportionality principles embodied in the Eighth Amendment prohibit use of the death penalty for certain crimes. The reasoning of several other decisions in the 2007-08 term was based on implicit proportionality principles. This talk will identify three distinct constitutional proportionality principles which the Court has explicitly or implicitly applied in criminal cases.

IV.   "Current Issues in Presidential Power"
Heidi Kitrosser, Associate Professor of Law.

This talk will focus on one or more recent controversies involving assertions of power by the White House over other branches of government or over administrative agencies. It will explore the constitutional justifications offered by the White House for the same.