From the 2017 News Archive
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Scholars Assemble to Honor Professor Mark Graber

Almost 30 constitutional scholars and political scientists from around the world joined Maryland Carey Law faculty March 2 in celebrating Mark Graber’s appointment as a University System of Maryland Regents Professor. Graber, a leading authority on constitutional law and politics, is the only faculty member of the University of Maryland, Baltimore to receive the honor.  

“Mark joins an elite group, as one of just seven Regents Professors in the System’s history,” said Dean Donald B. Tobin. “We couldn’t be more proud of our colleague or more thrilled for his success.”

Scholars recognize Graber as the founder of the American Constitutional Development movement, which uses tools from law, history, government and political science to analyze constitutional doctrine. “I think it is fair to say that [Graber’s] is the leading figure in the field of American constitutional development, bar none,” remarked Sanford Levinson, professor at the University of Texas Law School.

The appointment celebration included a lecture from Graber that explored what may be a crisis of constitutionalism in the US and a discussion of the four factors he believes are necessary to maintain a healthy constitutional democracy. These include:

  • An intelligent and experienced political leadership class which works for the public good rather than personal celebrity or enrichment
  • An informed population that believes in empiricism, and that does not make decisions based on ideology or religious dogma
  • A commitment to social pluralism, which includes an understanding that there are many ways of leading a good life, that constitutionalism requires compromises among them, and that people need to be allowed to have a wide variety of identities, provided they cause no harm
  • A commitment to economic and social equality and mobility and a government that does not protect the political class from all the harms that they cause the general population.

Graber’s presentation was part of the 2017 Maryland Discussion Group on Constitutionalism, an annual event known as the “Schmooze,” that this year attracted scholars from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown, UC Berkeley and other U.S. universities as well as faculty from several international institutions, including Oxford and Hebrew Universities. Participants, who share informal papers, discussed whether the recent election in the U.S., the Brexit referendum and the failed coup in Turkey are evidence of a global crisis in constitutional democracies.

Graber’s view was clear. “We cannot escape politics,” he said in closing his presentation.  “Constitutional democracy will survive…only if we persuade our fellow citizens of [its] virtues and preconditions through existing channels of communication and mobilization or the new channels of mobilization and persuasion we create…”

 

 


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Admissions: PHONE: (410) 706-3492 FAX: (410) 706-1793

Copyright © 2018, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved