Is Congress its Own Worst Enemy? Partisanship in Modern Politics
Partisanship is often derided for leading to polarization and a lack of compromise. But to what extent can politicians be expected to compromise their platforms and beliefs in the name of consensus? This program brings together experts from politics to discuss why “partisanship” has become a scorned concept in our national policy debate and politics. The key questions explored will be why partisanship exists, how it can be misinterpreted and abused, and whether checks can be put in place to limit its negative effects on public policy.
Moderator: Sally Katzen, Visiting Professor of Law
Panelists include US House of Representatives Congress members Diana DeGette ’82, Colorado’s First Congressional District; Hakeem Jeffries ’97, New York’s Eighth Congressional District; and Scott Peters ’84, California's Fifty-Second Congressional District.
Class I: The Legal Industry of Tomorrow Arrived Yesterday: What Will It Mean for Lawyers and the Regulation of Legal Services?
Technology and cross-border practice are changing traditional law practice. Until the last quarter of the last century, the geocentric model of lawyer regulation worked passably well. Lawyers were licensed in the state where they had their desk and pretty much stayed put. Only lawyers could earn money from the sale of legal knowledge to clients. That world is fading, if not gone. What has replaced it? What will it mean to law practice as we’ve known it? How should the bar respond?
Stephen Gillers ’68, Elihu Root Professor of Law
Class II: Sentencing Law and Policy
Does the punishment fit the crime? Are some sentences too harsh while others are too lenient? We will explore some of the key legal and policy issues raised by criminal sentencing, including what the goals of punishment should be, how to determine an appropriate sentence, and which institutional actor is in the best position to identify the factors relevant to sentencing. We will discuss cases and examine a variety of current sentencing regimes operating in the US.
Rachel E. Barkow, Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy
Class III: Uncovering Talent: Toward a More Inclusive Legal Profession
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
On the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the legal profession still faces significant challenges with regard to diversity and inclusion. To “cover” is to downplay a disfavored trait based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability to blend into the mainstream. Given its pervasiveness, some experience this pressure to be a simple fact of social life. This conversation will explore why these challenges still exist and will propose solutions, such as engaging traditionally dominant groups so that they are neither lionized nor demonized, giving lawyers from traditionally underrepresented groups the tools to understand the identity-based demands placed on them, and exploring firm-wide policy responses that will create a more inclusive environment to meet both business and ethical imperatives.
Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law
Class IV: Why Do People Pay Taxes?
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
In the United States, most people pay their taxes. According to the latest statistics released by the federal government, each year approximately 83 percent of all tax owed to the federal government is paid correctly and in a timely manner. This high rate of compliance is surprising, considering that the chance of being audited by the IRS is extremely low. Drawing on the work of legal scholars, economists, and behavioral psychologists, this lecture will consider the questions of why people pay taxes, why some people do not, and how the government can increase voluntary compliance with the tax law.
Joshua D. Blank, Professor of Tax Practice and Faculty Director of the Graduate Tax Program