Bradley Smith

Nov. 16, 2021 | 6 p.m. MT | Hellems 201 | In person and livestreamed | Free and open to the public  Watch the Lecture Here

About the Lecture

Earl Warren called Baker v. Carr (1962) “the most vital” decision of his landmark, 16-year tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—more important than Griswold v. Connecticut, Miranda v. Arizona, and even Brown v. Board of Education. Baker set the Court on a glide path that led to the “one person, one vote” standard enunciated in Reynolds v. Sims two years later, in the process finding the composition of most state legislatures to be unconstitutional. As Baker nears its 60th anniversary, Bradley Smith reflects on the history and circumstances that gave rise to the decisions in Baker and its progeny, what the Court got right, what it got wrong, and how it has changed the way Americans think about voting and self-governance.

About the Speaker

Bradley A. Smith is the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Smith is the author or co-author of three books and numerous academic articles on democracy and election law. His 2000 book, Unfree Speech, was dubbed “the year’s most important book on governance” by columnist George Will. Smith previously held appointments as the Judge John T. Copenhaver Chair at West Virginia University College of Law, and as a Visiting Fellow at the James Madison Program in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Smith served as Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission from 2000-2005, and as Chair of the Commission in 2004. Professor Smith earned his BA from Kalamazoo College and his JD from Harvard Law School, and holds an honorary doctorate from Augustana College.