Constitutions sometimes lie. More often, leaders defy their rules. The Russian Constitution is an example of both. It is a sham constitution that has been violated time and again by President Vladimir Putin. The Constitution was amended in 2020 to proclaim Russia's commitment to "ensure the peaceful coexistence of states and peoples" and to "maintain and strengthen international peace and security." This amendment was a façade all along – yet more proof that autocrats manipulate constitutions for public relations at home and abroad.
Last weekend, we held our first in-person conferencesince February 2020. We hosted speakers from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, and across the United States. The Keynote Lecture was delivered by Luís Roberto Barroso, a judge on the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil and president of the Superior Electoral Court. It was so good to be together again, off-screen! Photos are available here.
*** In this edition of The Leaflet: a new book, a new paper, diversity on the Supreme Court of the United States, and more! Richard Albert
Diversity on the Supreme Court of the United States
Last week, President Joseph Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer. Judge Jackson would be the first Black woman on the Court. If the Senate confirms this historic nomination, Justice Jackson's appointment will be an enormous victory for diversity and excellence. Nonetheless, the Court still has a long way to way to go before it becomes a true reflection of the rich diversity of the peoples of the United States.
Advanced Research Seminar in Constitutional Change
A new course with instructional and experiential components. The first half will consist of lectures and discussion on all aspects of constitutional change. The second half will be an opportunity to workshop a selected number of manuscripts written by registrants on any subject in constitutional change.
An outstanding book written in the best traditions of constitutional studies, combining rich contextual comparisons, careful case selection, rigorous theoretical inquiry, and deft political analysis. Kudos to its author, Mark Harding, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Guelph.
When I was a third-year undergraduate student at Yale, I wrote a letter to Canadian Supreme Court Justice John “Jack” Major. He responded with a letter of his own. He invited me to his office at the Supreme Court, and he later came to Yale for a visit. Since then, he has supported me, encouraged me, and helped me in ways both known and unknown to me. Justice Major continues to practice law since retiring from the Supreme Court in 2005, he goes to the gym five days a week, and he remains one of the best storytellers I have ever met. Here we are having lunch at the Ranchmen's Club in Calgary.