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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Political Science

Distinguished Professor Keith Bybee to Speak at Constitution Day Event

As in years past, the Department has organized a Constitution Day lecture for the University and general public.  The speaker this year is Professor Keith J. Bybee, the Paul E. and the Hon. Joanne F. Alper ’72 Judiciary Studies Professor at Syracuse University.  Professor Bybee is Director of the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media, and holds tenured appointments in both the College of Law and the Maxwell School’s Political Science Department at Syracuse.  His research and teaching interests include constitutional law, the judicial process, legal theory, political philosophy, the politics of race and ethnicity, American politics, and the media.  He has published three books and written articles appearing in a wide variety of academic journals.

Professor Bybee will speak at the Law School Auditorium at 7pm on September 15, on public skepticism and the American courts.  The title of the talk is “All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not:  Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law.”  Professor Bybee will describe in this talk how we live in an age when many citizens regard judges as both fair interpreters of the law and as activists legislating from the bench.  Although this pervasive public skepticism raises fears of institutional crisis or of the loss of legitimacy for our judicial branch of government, Professor Bybee argues that such skepticism is actually an expression of how our legal system ordinarily functions.  American courts, Bybee contends, not only survive under suspicions of judicial hypocrisy, but actually depend on them.

The lecture is open to the public and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the School of Law, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011