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Princeton Law-Engaged Faculty Discuss their Research: The PLANT Retreat

Mon, 5/6 · 8:30 am5:30 pm · 301 Wooten Hall or Zoom

University Center for Human Values; Program in Law and Normative Thinking (PLANT)

Princeton Law-Engaged Faculty Discuss their Research: The PLANT Retreat
Monday, May 6, 2024
301 Wooten Hall (Kerstetter Room) or via Zoom (email kemurray@princeton.edu for a meeting link)

8:30 AM Breakfast

9:00 – 10:00 AM Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs and Director of the Program in Law and Normative Thinking (PLANT) @ UCHV.
“Restoring Democracy through International Law”
Democratic backsliding occurs when aspirational autocrats are elected, often freely and fairly the first time, and then they destroy their democracies by law. But law is not just an instrument of democratic destruction. Fast-moving developments in international law now provide the resources through which formerly democratic governments can bring themselves back into the democratic fold.

10:00 – 10:15 AM Break

10:15 – 11:15 AM Samuel S.-H. Wang, Professor of Neuroscience; Director, Princeton Election Consortium
“Toward A Practical Science of Democracy Repair in the United States”
Democracy repair in the federalist system of the United States is an arduous process, with different laws and political culture in every state. I present a framework for the use of data and computation to ask the dual questions: can it be done, and should it be done? I will apply this framework to problems in redistricting, ranked-choice voting, and ballot reform.

11:15 – 11:30 AM Break

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Hendrik A. Hartog, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty, Emeritus.
“Property Law for Young Adults: A Possible Beginning”

An effort to imagine property law while foregrounding trespassing and policing, using examples from 2020 and 2021.

12:30 – 1:30 PM Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 PM Robert Spoo, Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Professor in Irish Letters
“Norms, Copyrights, and the Literary Public Domain”
What happens when publishers or authors try to turn the public domain into a space where private rights may once again flourish? I offer a sampler of work I am doing on 19th-century American publishing and on transatlantic modernist authors and their efforts either to re-propertize the commons through shared informal norms or to make the commons a source of new creative works and collective projects.

2:30 – 2:45 PM Break

2:45 – 3:45 PM Paul Starr, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs
“Law versus Culture: Can a Conservative Legal Regime bring about Conservative Social and Cultural Change?”
A liberal rights revolution developed in both American law and American culture in the mid-to-late twentieth century, raising historical questions about how much of an independent, causal role the courts played. Now control of the Supreme Court has decisively shifted hands, and Republicans control about half of state governments and may gain control of both the White House and Congress this fall. Can a conservative legal regime—1) the Court alone; 2) the Court plus Red state governments; 3) a federal trifecta–do for conservative purposes what a liberal legal regime did for liberal purposes? Can it bring about social and cultural changes that conservatives favor in an era when the culture has been moving in the opposite direction?

3:45 – 4:00 PM Break

4:00 – 5:30 PM Book Panel: You Can’t Teach That! The Battle over University Classrooms
(Book to be released by Polity Press 20 May 2024!)
The book examines the development of the freedom to teach in higher education in the twentieth century, and the current challenges of legislative interventions into the content and conduct of university teaching. The book develops a constitutional argument rooted in the Court’s existing jurisprudence as to why many such legislative interventions are unconstitutional – and why some might not be.

Keith Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics.
Stephen Macedo, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values
Fara Dabhoiwala, Senior Research Scholar/Lecturer with rank of Professor, Department of History
Mark Graber, University System of Maryland Regents Professor, Francis King Carey School of Law

5:45 – 6:45 PM Reception – Louis A. Simpson 171 Atrium

Open to PUID holders and academic affiliates

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