April 9, 2020


On March 14, 2020, the Federalist Society held its 39th National Student Symposium. The Symposium was originally scheduled to be held at the University of Michigan’s Law School but was rescheduled as a digital conference. The second panel explored “The Proper Role of the Senate”.

Much has changed concerning the Senate since the adoption of the Constitution. It is now directly elected. The nature of its power has changed with the passage of the 16th Amendment.  And its unique role in confirmations and treaties and the nature of its role protecting smaller states all have undergone much discussion. The Senate has always played a key role in balancing purely democratic power. It has also protected the states and possibly served to defuse otherwise hostile geographical battles. Does or should this role change in our modern democracy? If so, how?

  • Prof. Lynn A. Baker, Frederick M. Baron Chair in Law and Co-Director of the Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice and the Media, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Prof. Sanford V. Levinson, W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Ms. Amanda Neely, General Counsel, Office of Senator Rob Portman
  • Prof. John Yoo, Emanuel Heller Professor of Law and director of the Korea Law Center, University of California at Berkeley School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Raymond M. Kethledge, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

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