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“Conversations on the Enduring Legacy of the Great Charter” Symposium Set for December 9, 2014

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Scholars, historians and contemporary thinkers will discuss how Magna Carta’s political and legal traditions have carried into our current times at a symposium on Dec. 9, 2014. The symposium, Conversations on the Enduring Legacy of the Great Charter, is being held in conjunction with the Library’s exhibition,”Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor.”

The afternoon program, “Contemporary Conversations on Magna Carta,” is open to the public and starts at 2 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The symposium, organized by the Law Library of Congress, is free. Tickets are not needed.MagnaCarta Muse and Mentor Logo

A highlight of the program will be an interview with Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen G. Breyer conducted by David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group. The interview, “American Law and the Great Charter,” begins at 2:05 p.m.


Featured Speakers for the Afternoon Program

Opening remarks by Deputy Librarian of Congress Robert Dizard Jr.

“American Law and the Great Charter”
David Rubenstein conducts an interview with Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer

“Drafting Modern Constitutions”
Participants: A.E. Dick Howard, White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs, University of Virginia School of Law; Cornelius “Neil” Kerwin, president of American University; and David Fontana, Associate Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School. Moderated by Jeffrey Rosen, president and chief executive officer, National Constitution Center

“Rule of Law in the Contemporary World: Civil Liberties and Surveillance”
Participants: Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Member, Committee on the Judiciary, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations; Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Member, Committee on the Judiciary, and Member, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Moderated by Orin Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School

“Proportionality Under the Eighth Amendment”
Participants: Vicki Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professorship of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; Craig Lerner, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, George Mason University Law School. Moderated by Carrie Johnson, justice correspondent, National Public Radio

“The Enduring Value of Magna Carta”
Participants: Jonathan Jacobs, director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics and chairman of the Department of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; William C. Hubbard, president, American Bar Association, and partner with Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP. Moderated by Roberta I. Shaffer, retired Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress.

“An International Perspective”
Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee

Closing Remarks
David S. Mao, Law Librarian of Congress


We hope you can join us! For those readers who will not be able to attend the symposium, we will have members of the In Custodia Legis team live tweet at various points throughout the day via Twitter @LawLibCongress, using #1215MCLC.

The Library of Congress is commemorating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta with an exhibition – Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor, a symposium, and a series of talks starting this year.  Through January 19, 2015, the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta, one of four remaining originals from 1215 is on display along with other rare materials from the Library’s rich collections to tell the story of 800 years of its influence on the history of political liberty. 

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