Please join Ralph Rossum as he delivers the Tenth Annual Constitution Day Lecture.
As he approaches a quarter century of service on the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas has consistently pursued an original general meaning approach to constitutional interpretation. He has been unswayed by the claims of precedent–by the gradual build-up of interpretations that, over time, can distort the original meaning of the constitutional provision in question and lead to muddled decisions and contradictory conclusions.
As with too many layers of paint on a delicately crafted piece of furniture, precedent based on preceden (focusing on what the Court said the Constitution means in past cases as opposed to focusing on what the Constitution actually means) hides the constitutional nuance and detail he wants to restore. Thomas is unquestionably the justice who is most willing to reject this build-up, this excrescence, and to call on his colleagues to join him in scraping away past precedent and getting back to bare wood–to the original general meaning of the Constitution.
This Constitution Day lecture will show how Thomas, in his many of opinions reflecting on the original text of the Constitution (the Commerce Clause of Article I § 8 and the Ex Post Facto Clauses of Articles I §§ 9 and 10) and the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth, and Tenth Amendments, has consistently sought to restore the original general meaning of the Constitution and, by so doing, has sought to secure for us the rights and liberties the founding generation fought the Revolutionary War to establish.
Kira Eckenweiler is the featured guest on this KRUA program that always highlights the work of UAA students. Host Kathleen McCoy works at UAA in the Office of Advancement. This program was recorded in the KRUA studios in the Professional Studies Building on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.
Special thanks to KRUA Station Manager Alejandra Buitrago, and former station manager Audri Pleas, and other great staffers at KRUA for helping this program make it to the air.
Melody Swartz, Ph.D. is a swartz closeup2012 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow and currently a professor at the University of Chicago Institute of Molecular Engineering.
Dr. Swartz’s research focuses on how lymphatic vessels, and their transport functions, contribute to adaptive immunity. Biomedical scientists currently regard the fluid-drainage function of the lymphatic system as mostly important for maintaining tissue fluid balance. The cell transport functions, which regulate immunity, are considered separately. She is trying to build a new picture of the lymphatic function—namely, that not only are fluid and cell transport functions of the lymphatic vessels strongly coupled, but that the fluid transport functions are very important in regulating immune responses. Swartz’s team also is trying to target lymphatic vessels for improved cancer immunotherapy because this is one aspect of the tumor microenvironment that seems to contribute to therapeutic failure.
She has received many honors including being awarded a Career Award from the National Science Foundation, an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, and the Wenner Prize—Switzerland’s largest prize for cancer research. Other recognition includes being named one of Popular Science Magazine’s “Brilliant 10” in 2006. Dr. Swartz also is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a two-time recipient of prestigious $3 million single-investigator grants from the European Research Foundation.
In 2003 Dr. Swartz joined the faculty of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and was a professor in the Institute of Bioengineering and the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research until 2014 when she moved to take a professorship at the University of Chicago in the Institute of Molecular Engineering. Her prior affiliations include Northwestern University (1999–2006), and her scientific articles have appeared in Science, Nature, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, and PNAS.
Melody Swartz received a B.S. (1991) from Johns Hopkins University in chemical engineering. As a Watson Foundation Fellow she then conducted a year of independent research in Micronesia on the “Use and Societal Impact of Western Technologies in Undeveloped Nations.” She earned a Ph.D. (1998) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Kevin Patterson, executive director of Anchorage Opera, will deliver the upcoming Chartwell Lecture, “Have Courage: Sustaining the Arts in a Time of Cultural and Economic Uncertainty.”
For more than two decades, Patterson has thrived as producer, director and educator in hundreds of creative projects, spanning live performance, video and digital media. A passionate evangelist for the power of the creative process to stimulate dialogue and action, Patterson sees the arts as the creative soul of strong communities. Since 2012, he has served as executive director of the Anchorage Opera Company. He was previously associated with Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Chicago. Patterson graduated from Indiana University, where he earned a B.A. in music; he also holds an M.B.A. from Indiana Wesleyan University. A frequent guest lecturer at universities around the country, he consults with local governments on the economic effects and strategic implications of the arts.
The Chartwell Lecture Series, which takes its name from Winston S. Churchill’s country house in Kent, offers stimulating programs on a wide range of subjects in the humanities and liberal arts to citizens of Alaska. Organized by the Department of Political Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the lectures are free and open to the public. They thrive because of the interest and support of their audience.
For more information about this and upcoming lectures, please visit the UAA Department of Political Science webpage.