Published: April 1, 2024 By

On March 19, the University of Colorado Law School’s Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law and the Colorado Law Federalist Society hosted a thought-provoking discussion about Professor Brian Fitzpatrick’s ground-breaking book, The Conservative Case for Class Actions. Professor Fitzpatrick, a widely recognized conservative legal scholar and law professor at Vanderbilt Law School, delved into the subject of class actions from the conservative lens. 

Prof Fitzpatrick

Traditionally viewed as a tool of liberal advocacy, the class action is, in fact, aligned with conservative principles and values. Professor Fitzpatrick made the case for why class actions should be re-evaluated as consistent with conservativism because of their potential to promote free markets, individual liberty, and limited government intervention. Providing a mechanism for efficiently resolving mass disputes, class actions can serve as a conservative alternative to regulatory oversight, empowering individuals to seek redress for harm caused by corporate misconduct. Throughout the event, Professor Fitzpatrick eloquently articulated conservative principles that permeate his book and its premise, drawing on statistical evidence and practical examples to dispel the myth that class actions are bad.  

Director of the Byron White Center and Colorado Law Professor Suzette Malveaux set the table for the discussion by offering a class action primer and sharing her experience as a class action litigator who represented 1.5 million women alleging gender discrimination against Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338 (2011)), the largest employment discrimination class action to date. Participants even got the chance to hear from her client, named plaintiff Betty Dukes, in a video clip of Ms. Dukes testifying before Congress about the importance of class actions.  Professor Malveaux offered commentary to Professor Fitzpatrick’s book talk and kicked off the Q&A.  

The event was packed with material on an often under-appreciated subject of civil procedure and constitutional law.  Reflecting on the talk, Colorado Law Professor and Federalist Society Faculty Mentor, Andrew Schwartz shared: “It was a fabulous event. Professor Malveaux led off with a great primer on class actions, and Professor Fitzpatrick provided a cogent and convincing defense of this type of aggregate litigation. I learned a lot.”  

Ryan Harrington ‘26 offered: “In a society where free speech and free thought are becoming increasingly more restricted, it is refreshing to see a college campus embrace a new idea, political view, and standpoint that challenges them to think differently.” 


By providing a platform for diverse perspectives, Professor Fitzpatrick’s book talk demonstrated the value of intellectual discourse in advancing understanding and shaping public discourse on important constitutional law issues.