Constitution Day Lecture at Missouri – James Fleming & Linda McClain

In partnership with the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization in Clinton, NY, the Kinder Forum will host the Eighth Annual David Aldrich Nelson Lecture in Constitutional Jurisprudence on September 17, 2015.  

This event will take place at 1:00 PM in Hulston Hall on the University of Missouri campus. The lecture, which will be delivered by Boston University Professors of Law James E. Fleming and Linda C. McClain (see abstract below), is free and open to the public.

Abstract: Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court’s recent marriage decision, has been celebrated by liberals and condemned by many conservatives. Yet Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion is hardly the opinion that many liberals or progressives would have written. We shall acknowledge the opinion’s liberal and progressive strands, and bring out its conservative strands as well: for example, justifying the fundamental right to marry on the basis of the moral goods fostered by the institution of marriage. At the same time, the four dissenting opinions, though applauded by many conservatives, are curiously out of step with much of contemporary conservative constitutional theory, including libertarian, originalist, and natural law thinking. Our lecture will examine contemporary conflicts over law and morality through exploring Kennedy’s opinion of the Court along with the four dissenting opinions, and will also consider what Obergefell implies concerning constitutional interpretation and the future of marriage.


James E. Fleming is an alumnus of the University of Missouri, where he received his A.B. summa cum laude in 1977 with a major in Political Science. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard University Law School. At present, he is Professor of Law, The Honorable Frank R. Kenison Distinguished Scholar in Law, and Associate Dean for Research and Intellectual Life at Boston University School of Law. He is author or co-author of Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution: For Moral Readings and Against Originalisms (Oxford University Press, 2015); Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues (Harvard University Press, 2013), with his wife Linda C. McClain also of Boston University Law; Constitutional Interpretation: The Basic Questions (Oxford University Press, 2007), with Sotirios A. Barber of the University of Notre Dame; Securing Constitutional Democracy: The Case of Autonomy (The University of Chicago Press, 2006); and American Constitutional Interpretation (5th ed., Foundation Press, 2014), with the late Walter F. Murphy of Princeton University, Sotirios A. Barber & Stephen Macedo of Princeton University. He is currently at work on a new book project that addresses the legal enforcement of morals.

Linda C. McClain received her A.B. with High Honors in Religion from Oberlin College, her M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School, her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, and her LL.M. from the New York University School of Law. She is currently Professor of Law and Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar at Boston University School of Law. She is the author or co-author of Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities and Virtues (Harvard University Press, 2013), with her husband James E. Fleming also of Boston University Law; What is Parenthood?: Contemporary Debates about the Family (NYU Press, 2013), with Daniel Cere of McGill University; Gender Equality: Dimensions of Women’s Equal Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2009), co-edited with Joanna Grossman of Hofstra University Law School; and The Place of Families: Fostering Capacity, Equality, and Responsibility (Harvard University Press, 2006).


For more information about this event, see here. To learn more about the Jack Miller Center’s Constitution Day Initiative, and to find a list of Constitution Day events at other participating JMC partner programs, see here.