The Crisis of Democracy in Criminal Justice

The Annual Herbert W. Vaughan Lecture on America’s Founding Principles

February 10, 2020
Bibas Event Poster - The Crisis of Democracy in Criminal Justice

The Honorable Stephanos Bibas, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Today, criminal justice reformers are divided between those who favor insulated professional expertise and those who advocate more popular self-government. American criminal justice has become too bureaucratized. In the process, it has lost touch with its roots in local self-government and community values. Reformers should make the system more democratic, giving more power to affected communities and more weight to those communities’ values. 

Stephanos Bibas is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Bibas was previously a professor of law and criminology at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. As director of the Penn Law Supreme Court Clinic, he argued six cases before the Supreme Court of the United States and filed briefs in dozens of others. Judge Bibas clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court and was a litigation associate at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. Thereafter, Judge Bibas served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he successfully prosecuted the world’s leading expert in Tiffany stained glass for hiring a grave robber to steal priceless Tiffany windows from cemeteries. Before his tenure at Penn Law, Judge Bibas taught at the University of Chicago Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law and was a research fellow at Yale Law School. He has published two books and more than sixty scholarly articles. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University in 1989 with a B.A. in political theory and from Oxford University in 1991 with a B.A. in jurisprudence. He then earned his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1994.

Video:

The Crisis of Democracy in Criminal Justice

Location:

McCormick Hall 101

Funded by:

The Bouton Law Lecture Fund