UCHV Event - The Supreme Court’s Overruling of Roe v. Wade: What’s Next for Liberty, Equality, and the Constitution?

Mar 23, 2023, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Robertson Hall - Bowl 16 and Princeton Media Central Livestream


Event Description

James E. Fleming, The Honorable Paul J. Liacos Professor of Law at Boston University and author of Constructing Basic Liberties: A Defense of Substantive Due Process

Commentary by Keith Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University

Moderated by Stephen S. Macedo, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

Free and open to the public - Registration required to attend in person - Register here

Livestream at start of the event

Presented by the University Center for Human Values - UCHV Website Event Listing

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had protected the constitutional right of pregnant persons to decide whether to terminate their pregnancies. Justice Alito’s 5-4 majority opinion in Dobbs denied that it “cast doubt” on any other precedents. But Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion said the quiet part out loud: that all of the substantive due process decisions protecting personal autonomy and bodily integrity—including the rights to use contraceptives, to “same-sex” intimacy, and to “same-sex” marriage—were “demonstrably erroneous” and should be overruled. Are these rights next? Is the Supreme Court just getting started? Many liberals and progressives (including feminists, queer theorists, and critical race theorists) have feared so. Many conservatives have hoped so. Others have tried to draw lines.

To address these issues, we have invited James E. Fleming to discuss his timely and important new book, Constructing Basic Liberties: A Defense of Substantive Due Process (University of Chicago Press, 2022). Professor Fleming will argue—in terms of Bob Dylan’s prophetic “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”—that in Dobbs we can hear “the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world” of personal autonomy and bodily integrity that should be protected through the doctrine of substantive due process. These basic liberties, he argues in his book, are necessary to extend ordered liberty and the status of equal membership in our political community to all.

Co-Sponsored by:

James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions