Thursday, April 14, 2016

Amar Comes to Scarsdale, May 10

Yale Law Professor Akhil Reed Amar '80, U.S. Constitution expert, will speak to alumni and guests in Scarsdale, May 10 (Yale photos)
Yale Law School Professor Akhil Reed Amar '80 '84JD, one of the most popular faculty members on campus and one of the best known scholars of the U.S. Constitution, will speak to alumni and guests in Scarsdale, May 10, as part of YWAA's ongoing lecture series.  The series, led and organized by YWAA board member and treasurer Rich Fabbro '76, invites prominent Yale professors to Westchester to lead discussions on their areas of expertise, favorite projects and programs or recent publications.

Amar will give his talk, "The Constitution and the Presidential Election of 2016," at the Scarsdale Library (54 Olmsted Rd.) at 7:30 pm.

Yale history Professor Joanne Freeman presented a lively lecture on "Dirty Politics" and America in the early years after the Revolution last December.  Physics Professor and Department Head Meg Urry spoke about and explained with colorful slides "Galaxies and Black Holes," also in Scarsdale, in 2014.

In 2012, Amar wrote America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By.  Reviewer Ken Gormley in the Washington Post called the work "a masterful, readable book that constitutes one of the best, most creative treatments of the U.S. Constitution in decades." In the book, Amar claims the Constitution must be read "as a whole rather than as a jumble of discrete clauses."

Amar has written opinion pieces on current issues and the Constitution for The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic.

His latest book, The Law of the Land:  A Grand Tour of our Constitutional Republic, was published last year. He is finishing a book, The Constitution Today:  Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era, that will published in late 2016.

"Amar is a respectful critic of conservative originalism (in interpreting the Constitution)," Princeton Professor Robert George wrote in the New York Times in 2012. "He takes the written text seriously as limiting judicial freedom of maneuver, but argues that the Constitution is more than the text, even when supplemented by its original understanding."

George wrote in reviewing one of his books: "Amar insists that the idea itself (of an unwritten interpretation of the Constitution) is sound...(but) needs rescuing from its abusers."

During the 2016 presidential-election season, Amar has been asked to interpret whether candidate Ted Cruz, born in Canada, is eligible to be U.S. president.  "I do not embrace Ted Cruz politically," he wrote in in January and outlined a lengthy layman's argument to support Cruz's eligibility.  "But I do embrace his right to run for president, and so should you."

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