Each year, the Georgetown Center for the Constitution sponsors the Salmon P. Chase Lecture and Faculty Colloquium, and the Thomas M. Cooley Book Prize & Judicial Lecture. These programs are designed to advance our understanding of the Constitution, engage in conversations about constitutional interpretation, and honor forgotten figures in our constitutional history.
Each year, the Center sponsors the annual Salmon P. Chase Distinguished Lecture and Faculty Colloquium on some aspect of our constitutional history. Each lecture is delivered in the courtroom of the Supreme Court of the United States and is hosted by a Justice. The next day, a group of scholars meets at Georgetown Law to discuss papers written on the topic of the lecture. The lecture and papers are then published in the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy.
Previous topics include:
- 2022: Honoring Frederick Douglass and the anti-slavery constitution (by professor Peter C. Myers)
- 2021: Commemorating the constitutional contributions of Gouverneur Morris (by Dean William M. Treanor) (2021 Salmon P. Chase lecture can be viewed here)
- 2020: Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment (by professor Martha Jones) (2020 Salmon P. Chase Lecture can be viewed here)
- 2019: The 200th Anniversary of McCulloch v. Maryland (by law professor Sanford Levinson)
- 2018: The 150th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Cooley’s Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations which Rest Upon the Legislative Power of the States of the American Union (1868) (by historian Charles McCurdy)
- 2017: The Career of Justice James Wilson (by law professor William Ewald)
- 2016: The 225th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights (by political scientist Colleen Sheehan) (2016 Salmon P. Chase Lecture can be viewed here)
- 2015: The 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 13th Amendment (by historian Eric Foner)
- 2014: The 150th anniversary of Salmon P. Chase becoming Chief Justice of the United States (by historian James Oakes)
The annual Thomas M. Cooley Book Prize of $50,000 honors a book for its contribution to our understanding of the Constitution. Thomas McIntyre Cooley was a longstanding Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, and a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, where he also served as the Dean. Cooley was a renowned legal scholar who authored several highly influential treatises, including A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations Which Rest Upon the Legislative Power of the States of the American Union and The General Principles of Constitutional Law in the United States of America. The Book Prize is awarded each year at the Center’s annual gala at the National Archives, which is accompanied by a lecture from a leading jurist.
Previous awards include:
- 2022: The fifth annual Thomas M. Cooley Book Prize of $50,000 was awarded to Professor Michael W. McConnell of Stanford University for his book, The President Who Would Not Be King: Executive Power Under the Constitution (Princeton University Press, 2020). The Cooley Judicial Lecture was delivered by the Honorable Don Willett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
- 2021: The fourth annual Thomas Cooley Book Prize of $50,000 was awarded to Professor Sean Wilentz of Princeton University for his book, No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding (Harvard University Press, 2018). The Cooley Judicial Lecture was delivered by the Honorable Neomi Rao of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
- 2020: The third annual Thomas Cooley Book Prize of $50,000 was awarded to Professor Keith E. Whittington of Princeton University for his book, Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present (University Press of Kansas, 2019).
- 2019: The second annual Thomas Cooley Book Prize was awarded to Harvard Law Professor Richard Fallon for his book, Law and Legitimacy in the Supreme Court. On April 11th, the evening before the Cooley Prize Symposium, the Center held its first annual Thomas Cooley Judicial Lecture to honor Cooley’s work on the Michigan Supreme Court. The inaugural Cooley Lecturer was Judge Joan Larsen of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- 2018: The first recipients of the annual Thomas M. Cooley Book Prize of $50,000 were professors Gary Lawson (Boston University School of Law) and Guy Seidman (IDC Herzliya—Radzyner School of Law) for their book, A Great Power of Attorney: Understanding the Fiduciary Constitution (Kansas University Press, 2017), which explores the type of legal document that is the Constitution and how this affects the powers it grants to government officials and the duties they owe to the public.
Our Visiting Scholars Program provides faculty members from other law schools the opportunity to spend a semester at Georgetown Law. The Program is intended to assist mid-tenure and recently-tenured faculty members in expanding their body of scholarship and producing a major work of scholarship, preferably a book, while in residence at Georgetown Law.
Resident Scholars are members of the Georgetown Law Faculty with expertise in constitutional law, history, and constitutional interpretation.
Our non-resident scholars are faculty members at other academic institutions with expertise in constitutional law, history, and interpretation.