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March 27, 2006

Press Contact:
Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, 512-471-7330.

UT Law Presents Dred Scott Symposium as 150th Anniversary Approaches, March 30-April 1

What: Symposium on Dred Scott Decision
Where: Eidman Courtroom, UT Law
Who: The conference is free and open to the public
When: March 30 - April 1, 2006

Streaming Video of a Portion of the Symposium Now Available in Windows Media Format:
(Requires Windows Media Player)

AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas School of Law and the Chicago-Kent Law Review are co-sponsoring a symposium on the Dred Scott decision as the 150-year anniversary of the case approaches. The symposium is free and open to the public and will be held at UT Law's Eidman Courtroom from Thurs., March 30, through Sat., April 1. The Chicago-Kent Law Review will publish articles from the conference in early 2007.

In March 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that all blacks, slaves as well as free, were not and could never become citizens of the United States in Dred Scott v. Sanford. The court also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery in all of the country's territories.

The opening event, a "public conversation" between Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy and Duke Law Professor Walter Dellinger, will take place on Thurs., March 30, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will be moderated by UT Law Professor Sanford Levinson. Kennedy's research interests are the intersection of racial conflict and legal institutions in American life. Dellinger served as Assistant U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Solicitor General during the 1990s. He has argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has testified more than 25 times before committees of the U.S. Congress.

Professors from The University of Texas School of Law who will be participating in the conference include Sarah Cleveland, Sanford Levinson, Scot Powe, Louise Weinberg, and Keith Whittington.


Austin Allen, University of Houston-Downtown

Jack Balkin, Yale Law School

Mark Brandon, Vanderbilt Law School

Evan Carton, University of Texas, Professor of Rhetoric and Composition and the director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Texas

Hank Chambers, University of Richmond Law School

Sarah Cleveland, University of Texas School of Law and Columbia Law School

Spencer Crew, President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati

Walter Dellinger, O'Melveney and Myers (Washington, D.C.), Duke University Law School

Paul Finkelman, University of Tulsa Law School

Mark Graber, University of Maryland School of Law and Department of Political Science

Fred Hoxie, University of Illinois, Department of History

Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School

Sanford Levinson, University of Texas School of Law

Earl Maltz, Rutgers-Camden School of Law

William Marshall, UNC Law School

Judge Michael McConnell, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit

Scot Powe, University of Texas School of Law

Jon-Christian Suggs, City University of New York

Lea VanderVelde, University of Iowa School of Law

Jenny Wahl, Carleton College Department of History

Louise Weinberg, University of Texas School of Law

Keith Whittington, Princeton University and University of Texas School of Law

William Wiecek, Syracuse Univeresity School of Law

Owen Williams, Department of History, Yale University

Michael Zuckert, Notre Dame Department of Political Science


1. Jon-Christian Suggs: “Invisible Man: The Strange Marginality of Dred Scott in American Literature" Discussant, Evan Carton

2. Federick E. Hoxie, “What Was Taney Thinking? American Indian Citizenship in the 1850s.” Discussant: Sanford Levinson

3. Earl Maltz, “The Last Angry Man: Benjamin Robbins Curtis and the Dred Scott Case” Discussant: Owen Williams

4. Jenny Wahl, "Stay East, Young Man? Market Repercussions of the Dred Scott Decision" Discussant: Paul Finkelman

5. William Wiecek, The Emergence of Equality as a Constitutional Value: The First Century Discussant: Louise Weinberg

6. Michael Zuckert, "Dred Scott and the Crisis of the Incomplete Constitution" (must be on Saturday) Discussant: Keith Whittington

7. Austin Allen, "Historicizing Dred Scott: Reclaiming Some Lost Contexts" Discussant: Scot Powe

8. Lea VanderVelde, "A Case of Frontiersmanship: Dred Scott v. Sanford" Discussant: Mark Brandon

9. Mark Graber, "(Not) Learning from Dred Scott" Discussant: Judge Michael McConnell

10. Sarah Cleveland, “Roger Taney and the Use (and Abuse) of Foreign Authority” Discussant: William Marshall

11. Henry Chambers, “Dred Scott: Tiered Citizenship and Tiered Humanity” Discussant: Spencer Crew


Thurs., March 30
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.: Conversation between Randall Kennedy and Walter Dellinger; Moderator: Sanford Levinson

Friday, March 31
9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.: Mark Graber (McConnell) and Henry Chambers (Crew); Moderator: Jack Balkin

1 p.m. - 3 p.m.: Sarah Cleveland (Marshall) and Austin Allen (Finkelman); Moderator: Sanford Levinson

3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.: Wiecek (Weinberg) and Maltz (Powe); Moderator: Jack Balkin

Saturday, April 1
9:15 a.m. - 12 p.m.: VanderVelde (Brandon), Wahl (Williams), and Suggs (Carton); Moderator: Paul Finkelman

1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: Hoxie (Levinson) and Zuckert (Balkin); Moderator: Paul Finkelman