During a Sept. 26 discussion at Harvard Law School, moderated by Dean Martha Minow, four of the School’s constitutional experts offered their thoughts on a trio of critical U.S. Supreme Court rulings involving same-sex marriage, voting rights, and affirmative action.
To commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Harvard Law School Professor Michael Klarman, an expert on constitutional law and constitutional history, gave a lecture at Harvard Law School on Tuesday, Sept. 17. His talk, titled “Not Written in Stone,” focused on the reasons he believes the U.S. Constitution should not be given undue reverence.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week on several major cases including United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry in regard to same-sex marriage, Fisher v. University of Texas on Affirmative Action, and Shelby County v. Holder, which concerned the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A number of HLS faculty shared their opinions of the rulings on the radio, television, on the web and in print.
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear a pair of cases involving same-sex marriage. Harvard Law School Professor Michael Klarman has written a legal history of gay marriage, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash and the Struggle for Same Sex Marriage.” In the March-April 2013 issue of Harvard Magazine, which appears below, Klarman published an article on “How Same-Sex Marriage Came to Be.” His scholarship was also profiled in the Fall 2012 issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin in an article titled “The Courts and Public Opinion.”
A roundup of some of the Harvard Law School faculty and alumni who have played or are now playing central roles in the gay marriage cases before the Court.
The Caspersen Room in the Harvard Law School Library is currently displaying an exhibit documenting the involvement of Harvard Law School students, faculty and alumni in the long road to marriage equality. The exhibit includes a 1983 paper by Evan Wolfson ’83, “Samesex Marriage and Morality: The Human Rights Vision of the Constitution,” along with briefs and other exhibits from HLS Professors Elizabeth Bartholet ‘65, Lawrence Lessig, Frank Michelman ‘60, William Rubenstein ‘86, Carol Steiker ‘86 and Laurence Tribe, ‘66, and Lecturers on Law Kevin Russell and Benjamin Heineman Jr.
Forty years after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the backlash it generated continues to shape the public discourse, says Harvard Law School Professor Michael Klarman, an expert on constitutional law and constitutional history.
Michael Klarman’s scholarship has focused on the effect that court rulings have on social reform movements. He argues that when courts get ahead of public opinion, political backlash often follows. That’s what he found in an earlier book he wrote on race and the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is a phenomenon he has also observed in cases involving the death penalty and abortion. In his new book, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage,” the HLS professor explores whether the same effect has taken place when it comes to same-sex marriage litigation.