Walter Berns and the Constitution: A Celebration

Walter Berns and the Constitution

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In mid-September 2011, as part of AEI’s Program on American Citizenship, we celebrated Constitution Day (September 17), the day thirty-nine members of the Constitutional Convention signed the draft constitution. In conjunction with that remembrance, we thought it appropriate to honor our longtime colleague and friend Walter Berns with a panel dedicated to discussing his scholarship on the Constitution and the American regime it supports.

For more than fifty years, Walter Berns has analyzed the American constitutional order with insight and profundity. Walter’s many works include nine major publications and scores of articles and lectures. He has written several volumes on the Constitution, specifically Freedom, Virtue and the First Amendment (1957), The First Amendment and the Future of American Democracy (1985), Taking the Constitution Seriously (1987), After the People Vote (1983, 1992, 2004), and Democracy and the Constitution (2006). And, of course, Walter’s legacy extends to the hundreds of students he has taught over the years at Cornell University, the University of Toronto, Colgate University, the University of Chicago, Yale University, Georgetown University, and Louisiana State University; these students’ admiration for and attachment to the American political order was a direct consequence of attending Professor Berns’s courses and lectures.

At this year’s event, AEI president Arthur Brooks announced that henceforth the Citizenship Program’s annual Constitution Day celebration will be named in honor of Walter Berns in appreciation of his scholarly legacy in this field and his many years of contributing to the work of the American Enterprise Institute as a resident scholar.

What follows are the formal presentations given by Jeremy A. Rabkin (professor, George Mason University School of Law), Leon R. Kass (Madden-Jewett Chair, AEI), and Christopher DeMuth (former president, AEI, and distinguished fellow, Hudson Institute), as they discussed Walter’s contribution to the study of the Constitution. Following these presentations is a brief set of remarks made by Professor Berns at the conclusion of the event.

 

 

 

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About the Author

 

Walter
Berns
  • Walter Berns is also a professor emeritus at Georgetown University. A scholar of political philosophy and constitutional law, he has written extensively on American government and politics in both professional and popular journals. He is the author of numerous books on democracy, the Constitution, and patriotism. His most recent book is Democracy and the Constitution (AEI Press, 2006), a collection of essays. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2005.
  • Phone: 2028625859
    Email: wberns@aei.org

 

Christopher
DeMuth
  • Christopher DeMuth was president of AEI from December 1986 through December 2008. Previously, he was administrator for information and regulatory affairs in the Office of Management and Budget and executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief in the Reagan administration; taught economics, law, and regulatory policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; practiced regulatory, antitrust, and general corporate law; and worked on urban and environmental policy in the Nixon White House.

     

  • Phone: 2028625895
    Email: cdemuth@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Keriann Hopkins
    Phone: 2028625897
    Email: keriann.hopkins@aei.org

 

Leon R.
Kass
  • Leon R. Kass, M.D., is the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago and the Madden-Jewett Chair at AEI. He was the chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005. He has been engaged for more than 40 years with ethical and philosophical issues raised by biomedical advances and, more recently, with broader moral and cultural issues. His most recent book, What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song, seeks to promote American identity, character and citizenship. Along with co-editors Amy Kass and Diana Schaub, Dr. Kass is presently working to expand this project by creating video discussions and curricula materials that demonstrate how short stories can be used to enhance our understanding of the Meaning of America.
  • Phone: 202-862-7156
    Email: lkass@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Caroline Kitchens
    Phone: 202-862-5820
    Email: caroline.kitchens@aei.org

 

Gary J.
Schmitt

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