Whatever Happened to Freedom of Association?
An Alpheus T. Mason Lecture on Constitutional Law and Political Thought: The Quest for Freedom
Michael W. McConnell, Richard and Frances Mallery Professor of Law, Stanford Law School; Director, Stanford Constitutional Law Center; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former Judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Co-author of two casebooks, The Constitution of the United States: Text, Structure, History, and Precedent (2010) and Religion and the Constitution (2006)
The freedom of all groups--even unpopular ones--to organize around shared beliefs was once a highly protected part of First Amendment freedom, but it has recently lost its legal force. For example, in last year's Christian Legal Society v. Hastings College of Law, the Supreme Court held that a public university could deny equal access to its student speech forum to a religious group because the group limited its leaders and voting members to students who shared its religious and moral beliefs. Professor McConnell, who argued the case for Christian Legal Society, will discuss the social and legal trends that have contributed to the decline in legal protection for freedom of association.
Michael W. McConnell is the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor and Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
From 2002 to the summer of 2009, he served as a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
He has also taught at Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago, and the University of Utah.
Professor McConnell has argued twelve cases in the Supreme Court. In 1996, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. He was an assistant general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget and an assistant to the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan.
He has published widely in the fields of constitutional law and theory, especially church and state, equal protection, and the founding. He is co-editor of three books: Religion and the Law, Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought, and The Constitution of the United States.
He earned his B.A. from Michigan State University and his J.D., from the University of Chicago Law School in 1979, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.