Roundtable Gives Leading Scholars Opportunity to Discuss “The Constitution and Unwritten Law” at NDLS

The third annual roundtable conference of the Notre Dame Program on Constitutional Structure took place on March 22, 2013.

Organized by Notre Dame Professors A.J. Bellia and Randy Kozel, the conference brought together leading constitutional scholars from around the country. This year’s theme, “The Constitution and Unwritten Law,” gave participants the opportunity to explore the many ways in which the law is shaped by forces outside the Constitution’s text.

The conference was organized around the discussion of six papers:

  • “The Law of Nations in United States Courts,” by A.J. Bellia (Notre Dame) and Bradford Clark (George Washington)
  • “Presidential Power, Historical Practice, and Legal Constraint,” by Trevor Morrison (Columbia) and Curtis Bradley (Duke)
  • “The Limits of Custom in Constitutional and International Law,” by Michael Ramsey (San Diego)
  • “Settled Versus Right: Constitutional Method and the Path of Precedent,” by Randy Kozel (Notre Dame)
  • “The Federal Common Law of Statutory Interpretation: Erie for the Age of Statutes,” by Abbe Gluck (Yale)
  • Erie’s Four Functions: Reconceptualizing a Puzzling Doctrine,” by Allan Erbsen (Minnesota)


The discussion of each paper began with remarks by an assigned commentator, followed by an exchange of ideas among the broader group. In addition to Professors Bellia, Morrison, Ramsey, Kozel, Gluck, and Erbsen, participants included Kurt Lash (Illinois), Gillian Metzger (Columbia), Kevin Stack (Vanderbilt), Peter Strauss (Columbia), and Ingrid Wuerth (Vanderbilt), as well as several members of the Notre Dame faculty: Roger Alford, Amy Barrett, Patricia Bellia, Rev. William Dailey, Santiago Legarre, Jeffrey Pojanowski, Stephen Smith, and Jay Tidmarsh.

The Notre Dame Program on Constitutional Structure is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to studying the operation and implications of governmental structure.