JMC Webinar: “Is Court-Packing Legitimate?” with Joshua Braver and Thomas Keck
On December 7, 2020, Joshua Braver (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Thomas Keck (Syracuse University) discussed and defended their recent articles on court-packing for the newly-launched, JMC-supported blog, The Constitutionalist.
Professor Braver spoke on his piece, “The Myth of Recurrent Court-Packing,” in which he claims that court-packing is “nearly novel” in U.S. history and a non-reversible danger to judicial legitimacy.
Professor Keck countered with an argument based off of his article “The History and Legitimacy of Court Expansion” in which he asserts that size and structural changes in the Court are a recurring (and defensible) event in times of crisis.
Joshua Braver is an Assistant Professor of Law at University of Wisconsin Law School. His primary interests lie at the intersection of constitutional law and political theory. His research mines the rich normative debates of past constitutional conflicts to construct limiting principles for moments when law’s boundaries must be pushed, stretched or violated. His work is published or forthcoming in the Boston College Law Journal, the Georgetown Journal of International Law, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, among others.
He has also written for more popular outlets such as Politico, Dissent, and Talking Points Memo. Joshua received a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and graduated as the Valedictorian of the Political Science Class. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his Ph.D in political science from Yale University. Prior to joining the UW faculty, Joshua worked as a Civic Studies Fellow at Tufts University and then as a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School.
Professor Braver is a JMC fellow.
Thomas Keck is the Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics and Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Dr. Keck is the author of Judicial Politics in Polarized Times and The Most Activist Supreme Court in History, as well as articles in the American Political Science Review, Constitutional Studies, Law and Society Review, and Law and Social Inquiry.
He is currently leading an NSF-funded project on the political beneficiaries of free expression jurisprudence worldwide. As holder of the Sawyer Chair since 2009, he directs the Sawyer Law and Politics Program (SLAPP), an interdisciplinary initiative devoted to advancing teaching and research in the field of law and politics. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute.
Thomas Cleveland joined the Jack Miller Center August 2019 as Academic Programs Officer. He received his B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, where he studied the history of science, math, and philosophy. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston College in 2016 with a dissertation on Plato’s accounts of the origins of political life in the Laws. Before joining the Jack Miller Center he was a postdoctoral fellow with the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University and taught political theory and American politics at Miami University of Ohio and the College of the Holy Cross.
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