Published: Oct. 14, 2015

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law will host the 23rd annual Ira C. Rothgerber Jr. Conference, which is open to the public, Oct. 15 and 16.

This year’s conference, “Presidential Interpretation of the Constitution,” will celebrate the career of Professor Hal Bruff, who served as Colorado Law’s dean from 1996 until 2003. Conversations will focus on the questions raised in Bruff’s most recent book, Untrodden Ground: How Presidents Interpret the Constitution, in which he explores how all 44 presidents have responded to pressing matters by setting new legal precedents, which often developed into standard practices.

“The conference will offer an opportunity for educated conversation about a topic of intense public debate – what is the scope of presidential authority for interpreting the Constitution and how do and should presidents exercise that authority,” said Melissa Hart, director of the White Center. “It also offers an opportunity to acknowledge the remarkable contributions that Hal Bruff has made to constitutional scholarship over the course of his career.”

Kicking off the conference will be a keynote address by Bruff at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Wittemyer Courtroom at the Wolf Law Building. Scholars from across the nation will continue the conversations in panel discussions from 8:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in room 301 of Wolf Law.

The conference has been approved for five Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits.

Reservations for all attendees are required and can be made at Registration fees, which are taken at the door in cash or check, are free for law students; $15 for the Oct. 15 keynote and reception; $50 for the Oct. 16 panel discussions and lunch; or $60 for both days.

The Rothgerber Conference brings renowned scholars, attorneys and commentators to Boulder to discuss topical constitutional issues. Last year’s event featured scholars and lawyers discussing the people and strategies that have shaped litigation on the Second Amendment, gay marriage, voting rights, abortion and other controversial constitutional questions.

The conference and the White Center are made possible by generous gifts from Ira C. Rothgerber Jr., who died in 1993.