The UVA 2021 Originalist Symposium –

The UVA 2021 Originalist Symposium –

On Friday, the Chapter of the University of Virginia Federal Society will hold its 2021 Originalist Symposium. I spoke at this conference last year – it was one of my last trips out of town before the lockdown. This year the students increased the stakes and put together an excellent line-up. You can register today to participate virtually.

I’ll be talking about Bostock on the first panel.

Textualism according to Bostock

Bostock v Clayton County was a landmark decision in several ways. Of course the holding was pioneering. But also the fact that all three Bostock opinions were rooted in textual principles. How important is the Bostock split? Should we expect more or less departments like in Bostock? And how will the changes in staff at the Court affect this gap?

Prof. Josh Blackman
South Texas College of Law
Prof. Tara Leigh Grove
University of Alabama Law School
Prof. Michael Rappaport
University of San Diego Law School

The second panel will follow the growing dissatisfaction with originalism within the conservative right-wing movement.

The conservative enemies of originalism

The conservative right-wing movement has advocated originalism for decades. But there are growing signs of discord – some argue that originalism has outlived its usefulness and should be abandoned. How should right-wing originalists respond to these challenges?

Josh Hammer
Opinion editor, Newsweek
Prof. Stephen Sachs
Duke University School of Law
Prof. John Yoo
UC Berkeley School of Law
The Honorable Gregory Maggs
Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (Moderator)

The third panel deals with the (panting) Thomas Court:

Originalism, Institutionalism, and the Thomas Court

Given the rising conservative wing of the court, what should originalists expect in the years to come? Will one or more judges try to position themselves as the intellectual heir to Justice Scalia, or will different judges establish their own brands of originalism? What’s next in the Justice Wars and how will President Biden shape the judiciary?

John Malcolm
Director of the Meese Center for Legal and Justice Studies, The Heritage Foundation
Prof. Jennifer Mascott
Antonin Scalia Law School
The Honorable Beth A. Williams
Former Assistant Attorney General, US Department of Justice
The Honorable Neomi Rao
Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Moderator)

The final panel looks at the public perception of originalism:

The public importance of originalism

The Supreme Court confirmation hearings seem to bring originalism to the fore. During Justice Barrett’s hearings, many celebrities – from politicians to Hollywood celebrities – spoke out on the nature and merits of originalism. But how does the general public view originalism? And how much should originalists concern themselves with the public’s perception of what originalism is?

Elizabeth Slattery
Senior Legal Fellow of the Pacific Legal Foundation
Prof. Kurt Lash
Richmond University Law School
David Lat
Founding Editor, Above the Law
Evan Bernick
Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center (Moderator)