Election 2020: Is the Constitution Up to the Task?

Oct 29, 2020, 4:30 pm6:30 pm
Zoom Webinar


Event Description

Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University; Brandice Canes-WroneDonald E. Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs and Professor of Politics, Princeton University; and Bradley A. Smith, Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law, Capital University Law School

Moderated by Allen C. Guelzo, Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities; Director of the James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship, Princeton University

In addressing the question of whether or not the Constitution is up to the task, the panelists will explore the following:

  • What are the constitutional results of neither presidential candidate receiving a majority of the Electoral College votes?
  • What will be the status of the election if various indirect forms of voting cannot be counted speedily, or cannot be counted at all before January 20, 2021? 
  • What is the significance of the Transition Integrity Project? 
  • Will parts of the country refuse to accept either a Biden election or a Trump re-election?

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and his work on American constitutional law has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society. At Yale, he has received the Sterling Chair for scholarship, the Lamar Award for alumni service, and the DeVane Medal, Yale’s highest award for teaching excellence. He has been favorably cited by Supreme Court Justices in more than forty cases, and he regularly testifies before Congress. He was an informal consultant to the popular TV show, The West Wing, and his work has been showcased on more recent TV shows such as The Colbert Report, Up with Chris Hayes, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and Morning Joe. Professor Amar is also the author of several books, including The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era (2016), The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of our Constitutional Republic (2015), America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By (2012), and America’s Constitution: A Biography (2005). He received his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University.

Brandice Canes-Wrone is the Donald E. Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs and Professor of Politics at Princeton University. She also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP) at Princeton. In 2016, she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has written extensively on issues related to American politics, political economy, and elections. Ongoing research projects include the impact of campaign donors on representation, the economic effects of policy uncertainty, and the effects of judicial elections on legal outcomes. Her book, Who Leads Whom? Presidents, Policy, and the Public (University of Chicago Press, 2006), won the 2007 American Political Science Association Richard E. Neustadt Award for the Best Book Published on the U.S. Presidency in 2006. She received her A.B. from Princeton University, her Ph.D. from Stanford University, and taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Northwestern University before returning to Princeton as a faculty member.

Bradley A. Smith is the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, and the Founder and Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech in Alexandria, Virginia. He was previously the Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. Professor of Law at West Virginia University and a 2018-19 James Madison Program Visiting Fellow at Princeton University. From 2000 to 2005, Professor Smith served on the Federal Election Commission, including as Vice-Chairman in 2003 and Chairman in 2004.  Professor Smith’s writings have been cited in multiple Supreme Court opinions, and according to the Election Law Blog, he is one of the ten most cited election law professors in the country. His 2001 book, Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform (Princeton University Press), was praised by columnist George Will as “the year’s most important book on governance.” His current project is a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on voting rights, tentatively titled “The Power to Vote.” In 2010, Professor Smith was awarded the Bradley Prize by the Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for his work to “strengthen American democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles, and values that sustain and nurture it.” He is a cum laude graduate of Kalamazoo College and Harvard Law School and holds an honorary doctorate from Augustana College.

Funded by:

The Bouton Law Lecture Fund


Lecture Series
James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship