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Christmas Dinner 2005

Christmas Dinner Fred Schauer
Prof. Frederick Schauer

Our annual Christmas Dinner was held on Saturday, 10th December 2005, at CARLSON HALL of MOUNT IDA COLLEGE in Newton, Massachusetts, starting at 6:30pm. The guest speaker was FREDERICK SCHAUER (Balliol, Oxford & Wolfson, Cambridge), George Eastman Professor-elect, University of Oxford. The title of his talk was "Can Constitutions be Exported? : Thoughts on the Making and Remaking of Constitutions".

Professor Schauer is a leading American philosopher of law and a political theorist with a research focus on freedom of speech and press, constitutional law, and the philosophical dimensions of law and rules. He is presently Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Formerly Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Constitutional Law, he has been Vice-President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, is a founding Co-Editor of the journal Legal Theory, and has been a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to appearing before many congressional committees on issues of freedom of speech and constitutional law, he has in recent years taught and advised on issues of legal and constitutional development in Australia, Belarus, Chile, Estonia, Mongolia, South Africa, and the Faroe Islands, and has also lectured on legal theory and constitutional law in Canada, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Schauer is a 1967 graduate of Dartmouth College, a 1968 graduate of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth, and a 1972 graduate of the Harvard Law School.

In his talk, he initially started by giving an example of what makes a constitution. His talk then covered several areas including whether it is better to have foreigners involved in creating the constitution or whether the process should be left to the locals. He also discussed the length and the content of various constitutions, for instance South Africa with one of the longest includes health rights in its document, whereas the USA with one of the shortest documents has probably the strongest rights for freedom of the press. Members raised a variety of questions covering topics from the nature of governance in Antartica to the role of the USA in influencing constitution creation.


Nick Copley,
Balliol College, Oxford
President of the Society

Reception: 6:30 PM
Dinner: 7:30 PM