UC Law lecture examines the U.S. Constitution and why it is revered

Richard Albert, professor of world constitutions and director of constitutional studies at the University of Texas at Austin, will discuss the U.S. Constitution, why it is hard to amend, and why it is revered in his lecture “The Grenade, the Hourglass, and the Sundial: Constitutional Time in the United States and the World.” This event, the 2021 Constitution Day lecture, will be held at 12:15 p.m., Friday, Sept. 17, via Zoom.  CLE: Application submitted for 1 hour of CLE in Ohio and Kentucky. Attendees can register via the registration button below. 

This lecture is made possible through the generous support of the Alfred B. Katz Constitution Day Fund in memory of Alfred B. Katz ’35.  

About the lecture

Time passes differently under the ancient United States Constitution. Constitutional time in America follows the sundial model, rotating for years through crises and shocks both great and small, little consideration ever seriously given to breaking with time, replacing the constitution, and starting afresh with a new constitutional text. In contrast, the grenade and hourglass models prevail in much of the rest of the constitutional world: crises or shocks, and sometimes political expediency, trigger the writing of a new constitution that emerges ultimately from the chaos of the grenade model or the self-contained procedures of the hourglass model. On this Constitution Day 2021, the American sundial model of constitutional time suggests answers to many of the most pressing questions of the day: what explains the rise and success of illiberal movements across the country, why is the United States Constitution so hard to amend, and why do Americans venerate the Constitution?

About the lecturer

Professor Richard Albert

Professor Richard Albert

Richard Albert is professor of world constitutions and director of constitutional studies at the University of Texas at Austin. An expert in constitutional law and democratic reform, he focuses his research on constitutionalism and constitutional amendment from comparative, doctrinal, historical, and theoretical perspectives. He has advised governments and international organizations on constitutional amendment and reform in democratic and democratizing countries. 

Professor Albert has co-edited or co-authored numerous volumes on the study of constitutionalism, serves as Book Reviews editor for the American Journal of Comparative Law, and is founding co-editor of I-CONnect, the scholarly research blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law. He has published over 20 books, including Constitutional Amendments: Making, Breaking, and Changing Constitutions (2019). He also sits on the boards of several journals including the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Revista de Investigações Constitucionais, Africa Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law, Romanian Journal of Comparative Law, Rivista of diritti comparati, Indian Constitutional Law Review, Legal Desire International Journal on Law and the International Journal of Comparative Legal Research.

Professor Albert has organized over 100 international conferences, workshops, and symposia on subjects in public law. He sits on the Governing Council of the International Society of Public Law, holds an elected membership in the International Academy of Comparative Law, and has served on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law. He is or has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Sections on Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, Law and Religion, Law and South Asian Studies, and Scholarship in the Association of American Law Schools.

He has twice won the Anthony P. Farley Award for Excellence in Teaching and he has been recognized as one of the top 50 under 50 Minority Law Professors in the United States. Professor Albert has held visiting professorships at Yale University, the University of Toronto, Externado University of Colombia, the Interdisciplinary Center in HerzliyaUniversidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo, and Airlangga University. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Brescia in Italy. He is a Fellow at the Center for Jurisprudence and Constitutional Studies at Kabarak University in Kenya and a Distinguished Academic Associate at the Centre for Law & Religion at Cardiff Law School. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College.

Prior to joining the University of Texas at Austin, Professor Albert was professor of law at Boston College Law School and served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He holds a B.A. and J.D. from Yale University, an LL.M. from Harvard University, and a BCL from the University of Oxford.

Lead photo: istockphoto.com

Richard Albert photo: provided