MSU College of Law



April 5, 2010


Michigan State Law Review Symposium Responds to The Will of the People

East Lansing, MI — Distinguished scholars from across the nation will gather at Michigan State University College of Law on April 8 and 9 to present reactions to Barry Friedman's The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution.

In The Will of the People, Friedman challenges the countermajoritarian difficulty by showing that the Supreme Court has always been subject to a higher power: the American public. He claims that, for at least the past 60 years, the justices have made sure that their decisions do not stray far from public opinion. The author's pathbreaking account of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Rehnquist court in 2005—details how the American people came to accept their most controversial institution and, in doing so, helped shape the meaning of the Constitution.

The Michigan State Law Review symposium, entitled "Responding to The Will of the People," will bring together respected scholars of American constitutional history, law and politics, constitutional theory, and comparative constitutionalism to contribute essays and discuss their reactions to Friedman's book.

Friedman, vice dean and professor at New York University School of Law, is a constitutional lawyer who has litigated cases involving abortion, the death penalty, and free speech. In addition to Friedman, the symposium will feature the following scholars:

  • Clifford J. Carrubba, Emory University
  • Amanda Frost, American University Washington College of Law
  • Anna L. Harvey, New York University
  • Corinna Barrett Lain, University of Richmond School of Law
  • Stefanie A. Lindquist, The University of Texas School of Law
  • Kevin T. McGuire, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • William Novak, University of Michigan Law School
  • Edward A. Purcell, Jr., New York Law School
  • Lori A. Ringhand, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Neil S. Siegel, Duke University School of Law
  • Lawrence B. Solum, University of Illinois College of Law
  • Glen Staszewski, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Georg Vanberg, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

For more information, visit

Founded in 1931, the Michigan State Law Review is edited and published entirely by students at MSU Law. It publishes four issues per year and sponsors symposia focused on current legal topics. For more information about the Law Review, visit

Michigan State University College of Law is a leading institution of legal education with a long history of creating practice-ready attorneys. As one of only a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent Law College, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law's commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.