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Democracy is Center Stage at Tulane Law’s McGlinchey Lecture

March 12, 2018

McGlinchey Poster 2018
Tulane Law School will host the annual McGlinchey Lecture on Federal Litigation Wednesday, March 14, featuring New York University Law School Professor Richard H. Pildes, who will speak on “Defending Political Elites in the Era of Participatory Democracy.”

The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Wendell H. Gauthier Appellate Moot Court Room 110 in John Giffen Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret St. in New Orleans, with a reception to follow in the Marian Mayer Berkett Multipurpose Room. It is open to the public.

Pildes is one of the nation’s leading constitutional law experts whose scholarly work centers on free and democratic institutions, the role of money in elections, minority representation in the electoral process, gerrymandering and election districts, the regulation of political parties, among other topics.  Pildes, a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute, and has also received recognition as a Guggenheim Fellow and a Carnegie Scholar.

Among his most notable writings includes The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process which explores legal and policy issues concerning the structure of democratic elections and institutions, and which helped create a new field of study in the law schools.

He has written extensively on the rise of political polarization in the United States, the Voting Rights Act, the dysfunction of America’s political processes, the role of the Supreme Court in overseeing American democracy, and the powers of the American President and Congress. He has criticized excessively “romantic” understandings of democracy.

In addition to his scholarship, Pildes also has successfully argued voting-rights cases before the United States Supreme Court and was part of the Emmy-nominated NBC breaking-news team for coverage of the 2000 Bush v. Gore contest.

Some of his major recent academic articles include Romanticizing Democracy, Political Fragmentation, and the Decline of American Government; Law and the President; Why the Center Does Not Hold:  The Causes of Hyperpolarized Democracy in America; Is the Supreme Court a “Majoritarian” Institution; The Constitutionalization of Democratic Politics; and Separation of Parties, Not Powers.  

The McGlinchey Lecture is named for insurance lawyer and civic activist Dermot S. McGlinchey (L ’57). He was a devoted Tulane supporter and helped found the McGlinchey Stafford firm, which has permanently endowed the lecture series. McGlinchey was president of the Tulane Alumni Association, served on the law school Dean’s Council, chaired the Dean’s Council Development Committee and the law school building fund and was vice chairman of the Maritime Law Center’s endowment program. He also helped revitalize the Louisiana Bar Foundation and was instrumental in forming its Pro Bono Project.


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