The Forum 2016-2017

Spring 2017

Jan. 18

The election of Donald Trump was a shocking surprise to most observers.  Now the United States may face a series of foundational constitutional issues—some familiar, others novel.  On the verge of the inauguration, our panelists will preview several emerging controversies.  Panelists will offer first-take expert analysis on a range of potentially pressing constitutional issues such as presidential power to order the use of force abroad, including first strikes; free speech, fake news, and government leaks; religious freedom and Muslim registries; presidential authority over immigration and mass deportation; the power of cities and states to resist and shape national policy; the future of the criminal justice system, especially for vulnerable communities; and, depending on audience demand, presidential conflicts of interest under the unheralded Foreign Emoluments Clause.  Time will be reserved for audience questions as well.
Adam Cox, Robert A. Kindler Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Ryan Goodman, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Rick Hills, William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Adam Samaha, Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Kim Taylor-Thompson, Professor of Clinical Law, NYU School of Law
To listen to the audio, please click here
Feb. 1

Trump’s Immigration Order: Legal and Policy Issues

In a move he said was part of an "extreme vetting" plan to keep out "radical Islamic terrorists," President Donald Trump issued an executive order last Friday indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspending all other refugee admissions for 120 days, and excluding citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries (refugees or otherwise) for 90 days. The rule is being applied to people who have valid visas, including those returning from vacations, business trips, and travel for school. "There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country," Trump tweeted on Monday. "Study the world!" But is his executive order on immigration more than just not nice-is it also illegal, unjust, and unwise? What's the view of those who study the Constitution and relevant statutes? Come hear an assessment by three NYU Law experts in immigration law. And bring any questions you may have on the topic.
Adam Cox, Robert A. Kindler Professor of Law
Alina Das '05, Associate Professor of Clinical Law; co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic
Nancy Morawetz '81, Professor of Clinical Law; co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic
To watch the video, please click here
Feb. 8

Human Rights in an Illiberal Age

The international human rights system is facing unprecedented attacks from a combination of longstanding authoritarian regimes and an increasing array of illiberal democracies.

What are the principal challenges for the human rights movement, especially but not only in the United States?  Is human rights a discourse whose time has passed, or is this precisely the moment when it assumes new salience? Are existing approaches to human rights sufficient for the task, or is something very different needed?


Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law; UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
Baher Azmy, Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
Ejim Dike, Human rights advocate, former Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network
Margaret Satterthwaite, Professor of Clinical Law; Faculty Director, Robert L. Bernstein Institute for Human Rights

To watch the video, please click here

Feb. 15

Busting Unconscious Bias

Unconscious or implicit biases are automatic mental associations that affect the way we make decisions. While some implicit biases provide harmless shortcuts, others involve negative stereotypes and prejudices. Brian Welle, Director of People Analytics at Google, designed and led "bias-busting" workshops for tens of thousands of Google employees. In a conversation with Professor Anthony Thompson, Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law, Dr. Welle will explore the nature of unconscious bias, the training rollout at Google, and lessons for institutions as they strive to mitigate bias in the workplace and the classroom. To get the most out of this program, we encourage you to take an online test through Project Implicit

This event is part of the speaker series for the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and is co-sponsored by the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law. The speaker series is supported by Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Davis Polk & Wardwell; Kirkland & Ellis; Latham & Watkins; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. 

Feb. 22

Business, Law, and Government in China: Reflections from Experience

What lies ahead for US-China relations, especially in the business world? At this Forum, David Bonderman, Harvard Law '66, and Dick Cashin, two well-known investors with extensive experience doing business in China, offer their perspectives. Both are founders of investment firms, Bonderman of TPG, where he is chairman, and Cashin of One Equity Partners, where he is president. Professor of Law Jerome Cohen, Faculty Director of our US-Asia Law Institute and a leading expert on Chinese law and government, will moderate what should be a stimulating discussion, and audience members are encouraged to bring questions of their own. 

David Bonderman, Founding Partner and Chairman, TPG
Dick Cashin, Founder and President, One Equity Partners
Jerome Cohen, Professor of Law and Faculty Director of US-Asia Law Institute, NYU School of Law

To watch the video, please click here

Mar. 1

Trump’s Economic Agenda: The Path from Rhetoric to Reality

Aides to President Donald Trump have said that over the next two months the administration will roll out a proposed budget, a revamped health care plan, a new tax reform package, and an infrastructure initiative. And in his speech before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Trump may offer an outline of his economic vision. Experts on this Forum panel-all of whom have held senior federal government positons dealing with taxation, the budget, and the economy-will assess the prospects for the president's program, the challenges of turning his populist rhetoric into policy reality, and whether proposals being developed by Trump and Congress will translate into higher living standards and for whom.

Lily Batchelder - Professor of Law and Public Policy; served as deputy director of the White House National Economic Council and deputy assistant to President Barack Obama, and as majority chief tax counsel for the US Senate Committee on Finance.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth - Senior Fellow and Director of the Economics21 Program, the Manhattan Institute; served on the transition team for President Donald Trump and as chief economist of the US Department of Labor and chief of staff of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush.
Jason Furman - Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and deputy director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama.
David Kamin (moderator) - Professor of Law; served as special assistant for economic policy to the president and adviser to the director of the US Office of Management and Budget under President Barack Obama.

To watch the video, please click here

Mar. 8

Rescuing Puerto Rico’s Economy: Fiscal Oversight or Colonialism?

Last August, to address Puerto Rico's economic crisis, President Obama created a financial oversight and management board. Critics call it the colonial control board, seeing it as a throwback to a darker era of federal subjugation. By whatever name, the problem the board is charged with solving is enormous and urgent. The US commonwealth owes its creditors more than $70 billion and doesn't have enough money to pay them back. Some say recent cutbacks in services by the island's cash-strapped government are creating a humanitarian crisis. At this Forum, experts will discuss the causes of Puerto Rico's current predicament, how best to return the island to fiscal health, and the controversial role of the board. How well is it balancing the interests of bond holders and the island's residents? Panelists include two members of the board and one of its vociferous opponents, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, as well as a recent NYU Law alum whose law firm represented Puerto Rico's previous administration in negotiations over a fiscal turnaround plan.

Clayton Gillette, Max E. Greenberg Professor of Contract Law, NYU School of Law (moderator)
Arthur Gonzalez, Senior Fellow, NYU School of Law
Antonio Pietrantoni '15, Associate, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker, New York City Council
David Skeel, Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Mar. 22

A Conversation with Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde ’00

“I didn’t get Twitter when it came out,” Vijaya Gadde ’00 told Fortune magazine. “My first tweet was about breakfast.” But after witnessing the role it was playing in the nascent Arab Spring, she “realized how powerful of a platform it can be,” and landed a job with the company in 2011. Nearly six years later, Twitter’s power to shape politics and culture is even more evident, and with that come many questions—about online abuse, anonymity, government surveillance, fake news, and more. At this Forum, Professor Christopher Jon Sprigman will discuss some of those topics with Gadde, as well as her path from immigrant to the top ranks of one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies.
Vijaya Gadde ’00, General Counsel, Twitter; Trustee, NYU School of Law
Christopher Jon Sprigman, Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Apr. 19

When Trademarks Offend

The Washington Redskins have a name many Native American activists and others consider to be racially offensive. Simon Tam is a social activist and frontman for The Slants, an Asian American band named in part with the aim of reappropriating a racial slur. The US Patent and Trademark Office or federal courts have recently determined that the names of the football team and the band are not entitled to trademark protection because they are disparaging. Yet a federal appeals court has struck down as unconstitutional the law barring protection for disparaging marks, for running afoul of the First Amendment. Tam's case, argued before the Supreme Court in January, will likely resolve the constitutional question. Is it appropriate for the Trademark Office to refuse to register a mark that might be disparaging? Is it really affecting speech when it does so? And should arguments made by a business that sells football tickets and logo-bearing merchandise be viewed through the same lens as those of musicians who are trying to make a point?
The Supreme Court showdown has produced unusual constellations of allies on both sides of the debate. At this Forum, Simon Tam himself will be here to discuss the issues in a panel moderated by Professor Jeanne Fromer. And a few hours after the Forum discussion ends, Tam and his "Chinatown dance-rock" band will perform down the street from the Law School at Café Wha?
Jeanne Fromer, Professor of Law
Cecelia Chang, Director of Litigation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Lee Rowland, Senior Staff Attorney, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, ACLU
Simon Tam, Founder and Bassist, The Slants
To watch the video, please click here
Apr. 26

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

The “war on crime,” aggressive policing, mass incarceration—all are under scrutiny as America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of urgent debate. Critics have particularly assailed the disproportionate impact these approaches to law enforcement have on people of color. But many African American leaders in America’s urban centers were early proponents of these tactics, in part because they were concerned that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness. Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, a newly published book by Yale Law Professor James Forman Jr., examines this topic and will serve as the focal point for this Forum. Forman spent six years as a public defender, and others joining him for this discussion also have extensive experience and expertise in criminal justice.
Rachel Barkow (moderator), Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy; member United States Sentencing Commission
I. Bennet Capers, Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School; former Assistant US Attorney, Southern District of New York
James Forman Jr., Professor of Law, Yale Law School; former attorney at the Public Defender Service, Washington, DC.

Fall 2016

Sept. 14

Transgender Rights and the Regulatory State: Should Federal Agencies Take the Lead?

We generally look to acts of Congress and court rulings to establish fundamental rights—the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for example, to outlaw discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; and Obergefell v. Hodges, for same-sex marriage.  Congress and the courts, however, have been slow to act in the broad field of LGBTQ rights, including legal protection for transgender individuals. In this as in so many other legal fields, the Obama administration has taken the lead through administrative action.  Earlier this year, the Departments of Justice and Education sent a guidance letter to colleges and universities stating that Title IX prohibits discrimination based on a student’s transgender status, including in bathroom access. More than a dozen states have challenged these guidelines in federal court. Although administrative agencies have long played a leading role as innovators in antidiscrimination law, modern developments in administrative law make their actions more vulnerable to judicial defeat.  At this Forum, a panel of experts will discuss the bathroom-access issue and where it fits into both the broader goals of transgender advocacy and the history of regulatory innovation in the civil rights arena.

Gabriel Arkles, Associate Teaching Professor, Northeastern University School of Law
Jacob Gersen, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Sophia Lee, Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Scott Skinner-Thompson, Acting Assistant Professor of Lawyering, NYU School of Law

Deborah Malamud, AnBryce Professor of Law, NYU School of Law (moderator)

To watch the video, please click here

Sept. 28

Supreme Court (P)review

This program has become a staple of the Forum-panelists look back at some of the noteworthy decisions from the Supreme Court's last term and ahead to important cases on tap for the coming term. This year, the looking-forward portion of the discussion will be a bit different. With just eight justices (and confirmation of a ninth not happening anytime soon), the Court appears to be reluctant to take high-impact cases. And with a presidential election in the offing, the ideological make-up of the Court hangs in the balance. Our panel of experts-all of whom have done some combination of clerking for, arguing before, or producing acclaimed scholarship on the Court-will thus devote more time to discussing the Court as an institution and the politics that surround it.

Paul Clement, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis (as of Oct. 1)
Caitlin Halligan, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Burt Neuborne, Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties, NYU School of Law

Scott Hemphill, Professor of Law, NYU School of Law 

To watch the video, please click here

Oct. 5

Brexit: Now What?

"Brexit means Brexit," says UK Prime Minister Theresa May. But what exactly does that mean? Can Britain renegotiate its way to economic integration with remaining EU nations, but chart its own paths in other areas, such as immigration? Will the other nations extract a pound of flesh from the UK for its betrayal? What is the fate of the 3 million EU citizens living in Britain and the 1.2 million Britons working elsewhere in the EU? More broadly, what does the "leave" vote presage for Europe. Will we see further fractioning on the continent-from other countries exiting the EU to Catalonians voting for independence? Is Vladimir Putin rubbing his hands in glee? Our panelists will venture answers to these and other questions, and you should bring some of your own, as well.

Gráinne de Búrca, Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Mervyn King, Professor of Economics and Law, NYU Law and NYU Stern School of Business
Gillian Tett, US Managing Editor at the Financial Times
Joseph Weiler, University Professor, NYU School of Law

Robert Howse, Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law, NYU School of Law

To watch the video, please click here

Oct. 19

Perspectives on the 2016 Election: Law, Norms, and Change

Each presidential campaign is distinctive in its own way, and this one, maybe more than many, has provoked wide-ranging discussion on the processes by which the voters are informed about and then choose the next president. Issues for consideration include the effect of transformed campaign finance in the wake of Citizens United; conflicts in the courts likely to last until the eve of the election over voting rights; the role of private actors performing a public function like the Commission on Presidential debates; stresses on the formal political parties and their roles; and controversies over the norms and structure of press coverage. Two of NYU Law's experts in a discipline founded here at the Law School-Law and Democracy-will discuss these topics and field questions from the audience.

Bob Bauer, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence
Richard Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law

To watch the video, please click here

Nov. 2

The Missing American Jury: Restoring the Fundamental Constitutional Role of the Criminal, Civil, and Grand Juries

The Civil Jury Project is sponsoring a forum exploring the themes of Professor Suja Thomas’s new book “The Missing American Jury.” The book emphasizes the constitutional role of civil, criminal, and grand juries. It argues that the jury should be recognized as a co-equal of the traditional actors and specifically as a significant check to balance their powers—essentially as a governmental “branch.”  It then explores the reasons for the decline of jury trials in the United States and the effects this decline has on our society and democracy. Our discussion will touch on all these topics. 

Suja Thomas, Professor University of Illinois College of Law
Burt Neuborne, Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties; Legal Director, Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law

Steve Susman, Executive Director of The Civil Jury Project, NYU School of Law; Founding Partner, Susman Godfrey LLP

To watch the video, please click here

Nov. 16

Women’s Reproductive Health: Investigative Journalists Offer a Front-Line Report

Since Roe v. Wade, a woman’s reproductive health care has been her private medical decision.  But foes have been fighting back with a range of tactics: defunding health clinics that provide women access to the full range of reproductive health needs; dumpster diving and ambulance chasing to unearth pregnant patients’ confidential medical status; intimidation of doctors by publishing their names and addresses; and establishing fake service providers to dissuade women seeking abortion through deceit. Reproductive rights were not a major focus during the presidential campaign, but there is no question that the outcome of the election will have major impact on the future direction of law and policy in this area. 
At this Forum, five journalists who have covered this topic offer reports from the front lines:
Sarah Burns, Professor of Clinical Law (moderator)
Jackie Calmes, National Correspondent, New York Times 
Charles Ornstein, Senior Reporter, ProPublica
Molly Redden, Senior Reporter, The Guardian
Sofia Resnick, Investigative Reporter, Rewire 
Meaghan Winter, Freelance Reporter  

Co-sponsored by NYU Reproductive Justice Clinic and ProPublica, journalism in the public interest.  

To watch the video, please click here