2020 Missouri Law Review Symposium

A New Hope? An Interdisciplinary Reflection on the Constitution, Politics, and Polarization in Jack Balkin’s "The Cycles of Constitutional Time"

Taking place days after the presidential election, this symposium brings together an extraordinary group of scholars from multiple disciplines to reflect on Professor Jack Balkin’s explanation of our current times and his predictions about where we are headed. The program is a webinar via Zoom, the link is under the Program page.

November 12-13, 2020


Our constitutional democracy is ailing. Increasing economic inequality, a lack of trust in our representatives and political processes, and extreme polarization threaten our constitutional order. Will our democracy survive in the coming decades, or are we seeing the beginning of its end, as many despair? In his new remarkable book, The Cycles of Constitutional Time, Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin draws on political science, law, and history to predict the coming decades, offering reasons for hope. He argues that our constitutional system and politics evolve through the interplay of three cycles: the rise and fall of political parties; periods of polarization and depolarization; and a cycle of constitutional rot and renewal. Understanding these cycles can shed light on a path towards redeeming our democracy and constitutional system.


The program will be a webinar via Zoom.

4:30 pm EST/
3:30 pm CST

Welcome remarks

4:45 pm to 6:00 pm EST/
3:45 pm to 5:00 pm CST

Panel One: Constitutional Design

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School
Erin Delaney, Professor of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
Moderator: Tommy Bennett, Associate Professor of Law and Wall Family Fellow, University of Missouri School of Law


10:00 am to 11:45 am EST/
9:00 am to 10:45 am CST/
7:00 am to 8:45 am PST  

Panel Two: Constitutional History

Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School, and Professor of History, Yale University
Jonathan Gienapp, Assistant Professor of History, Stanford University
Frank Bowman, UM Board of Curators’ Distinguished Professor and Floyd R. Gibson Missouri Endowed Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law
Moderator: Carli Conklin, Associate Professor of Law and Kinder Institute Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy, University of Missouri

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm EST/
11:00 am to 12:15 pm CST)  

Panel Three: Constitutional Politics

Guy-Uriel Charles, Edward and Ellen Schwarzman Professor of Law, Duke Law School
Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Associate Professor of Politics, Pomona College
Moderator: Lynn Itagaki, Associate Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Missouri

2:00 pm to 3:15 pm EST/
1:00 pm to 2:15 pm CST 

Keynote Address and Conclusion

Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School


Panel One: Constitutional Design

Panel Two: Constitutional History

Panel Three: Constitutional Politics

Keynote: Jack Balkin

Law Review

First published in 1936, the Missouri Law Review is one of the oldest legal publications west of the Mississippi River. The law review is an entirely student-run and student-edited journal published quarterly by the University of Missouri School of Law.

The Missouri Law Review contains three sections: Lead Articles, Comments, and Case Notes, and Law Summaries. Law professors, practicing attorneys, and members of the judiciary write lead articles. Missouri Law Review members write for the comments section, providing an in-depth focus on a particular area of law. Law review associate members write case notes that analyze issues raised by recent court decisions or legislative acts. These members also write law summaries that provide a broad discussion of a statute or legal topic.

The Missouri Law Review publishes one volume per academic year. Each volume consists of the four issues published quarterly in the winter, spring, summer, and fall.