Published: March 26, 2012

Colorado Law's annual Coen Lecture will take place on April 12, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wolf Law Building's Wittemyer Courtroom. This year, Geoffrey Stone will deliver the Coen Lecture, which is the law school’s most prestigious external lecture for a distinguished academic. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School, and he previously served as the Dean of Chicago Law, as well as the Provost for the university at large.

His lecture is titled, "The Framers' Constitution: An Answer to the Current Supreme Court's Conservative Activism." 

In his lecture, Stone will discuss the traditional view, which posits that conservatives have the moral and legal high ground in the struggle to define the proper boundaries and methods of constitutional interpretation. He will review the position that conservative jurists "faithfully apply the law," "strictly construe the Constitution as the Framers intended," conform "to the norm of judicial restraint," and "just call balls and strikes," whereas liberal justices engage in a form of "judicial activism" that enables them to "make up the meaning of the Constitution to suit their own personal and ideological preferences" and then to impose them on the nation in the guise of constitutional interpretation. In this lecture, Professor Stone examines this conventional wisdom and offers a rather different take on the matter.

Stone is an expert in the field of constitutional law, having written multiple books on the subject, his most recent being Speaking Out! Reflections on Law, Liberty and Justice (2010); Top Secret:  When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark (2007); and War and Liberty: An American Dilemma (2007). Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (2004) received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 2005, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for 2004 as the best book in the field of history, the American Political Science Association's Kammerer Award for 2005 for the best book in Political Science, and Harvard University's 2005 Goldsmith Award for the best book in the field of Public Affairs. Stone is working on a new book, Sexing the Constitution, which will explore the historical evolution in western culture of the intersection of sex, religion, and law.

In 1955, the John R. Coen Lecture Series was established in memory of John R. Coen for an annual lecture by a prominent and distinguished lawyer, jurist, or scholar on a legal subject of interest and benefit to the profession.  Previous Coen lecturers include Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court; Justice Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court; The Honorable Alex Kozinski, U.S.  Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; and The Honorable Michael McConnell, U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.