Michael W. McConnell on the Topic of Retained Rights

October 15, 2008
Speaker: Michael W. McConnell, Presidential Professor of Law, Judge, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Summary: The Sumner Canary Lecture

When faced with drafting a Bill of Rights, members of the First Congress were faced with an impossible problem: what to include and what to leave out. Lockean theory told them that after construction of a social compact, such as the Constitution, the people would retain all rights not relinquished to the state. But what was the legal status of those retained rights, and how would they be affected by the explicit enumeration of some but not all of them?

Michael W. McConnell joined the faculty of S.J. Quinney College of Law in 1997 after teaching at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years, where he was William B. Graham Professor of Law. Prior to his teaching career, Professor McConnell served as assistant to the solicitor general with the U.S. Department of Justice, assistant general counsel for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and clerked for Chief Judge J. Skelly Wright, of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He also served a clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan. Among the country’s most distinguished scholars in the fields of constitutional law and theory with a specialty in the religion clauses of the First Amendment, Professor McConnell has argued 11 times before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is widely published in the areas of church-state relations and the First Amendment. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was sworn in as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on January 3, 2003.

Professor McConnell teaches constitutional law, family law, state and local government, religion and the First Amendment.

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