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Michael Klarman

  • HLS200 finale celebrates clinics

    HLS 200 finale celebrates clinics

    May 2, 2018

    On April 20, HLS in the Community wrapped up a year-long celebration of Harvard Law School's bicentennial by highlighting the contributions made by HLS clinics and students practice organizations (SPOs).

  • HLS in the Community

    Preview: “HLS in the Community” will celebrate clinics and bicentennial finale

    April 9, 2018

    On April 20, Harvard Law School will host the third and final major event in its year-long program celebrating 200 years of HLS. HLS in the Community will convene alumni, faculty, students, and staff to explore the extraordinary reach and impact of Harvard lawyers.

  • How a battle over same-sex marriage 14 years ago sparked Gavin Newsom’s political rise

    February 12, 2018

    Gavin Newsom was a fresh-faced mayor a week into his job when he walked into the House of Representatives chamber for the State of the Union address in January 2004. While he watched from the balcony, President George W. Bush declared his support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions — inspiring a political gamble that would change lives and transform Newsom’s career...Newsom quickly decided to throw himself into the maelstrom of America’s culture wars, violating state law by granting the first official marriage licenses to same-sex couples 14 years ago Monday...That meant Bush got to appoint two Supreme Court justices, Harvard Law School Professor Michael Klarman pointed out. On the other hand, “the fact that you actually had weddings in San Francisco was incredibly inspiring for a lot of people and activists,” he said, and sparked conversations that changed peoples’ minds on the issue. “Newsom was putting himself on the wrong side of the law, but it was the right side of history.”

  • How Donald Trump’s first year in office has sparked California’s resistance

    January 19, 2018

    After taking the oath of office a year ago, President Donald Trump turned west to offer a preview of his presidency. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first,” he declared from the Capitol steps. To many Californians, however, Trump’s turbulent first year in office has felt as if it’s come with a different mantra: California last...The sustained resistance from California during Trump’s first year in office represents the most vigorous dispute between a state and the federal government since Southern politicians fought desegregation measures in the 1960s, said Michael Klarman, a Harvard Law School professor who’s written several books about the civil rights movement. “There hasn’t been anything else like it in these last 50 years,” he said.

  • Will the #MeToo Moment Shape the Cosby Case?

    January 19, 2018

    Bill Cosby goes back to court in April, but his retrial on sexual assault charges will unfold in a very different America than his first. Since then, the #MeToo movement has established that women who individually once feared their accusations would be discounted or dismissed can find corroboration and power when they come forward as a group...There has long been a debate on just how much judges are, or should be, swayed by public opinion...Others, such as the Harvard law professor Michael Klarman have argued that certain landmark rulings like Brown v. Board of Education would never have been possible if judges had not been reflecting shifting social mores. In some ways, Mr. Cosby paved the way for the #MeToo moment as he battled accusations for years that he had hidden a history of mistreating women behind his comforting pose as America’s Dad.

  • Marbury v. Madison, Professor v. Protégé 3

    Marbury v. Madison, Professor v. Protégé

    October 26, 2017

    Laurence H. Tribe ’66 and Kathleen Sullivan ’81 have teamed up on many cases since she was a student in his constitutional law class; now, for the first time, they will face off as adversaries in a reargument of the landmark case Marbury v. Madison, part of the Harvard Law School bicentennial celebration on Oct. 27.

  • Time to rewrite the Constitution?

    October 10, 2017

    Last month, representatives from 22 states gathered in Arizona to plan the nation’s first constitutional convention since 1787...“Our Constitution needs some pretty important repair and it’s absolutely clear Congress is never going to propose it,” says Lawrence Lessig, a left-leaning Harvard law professor and convention enthusiast. “In my view, [a convention] is the only option.”...For instance, says Harvard law professor Michael Klarman, “we have this Electoral College system which allows you to become president even though your opponent won two percent more of the vote — which is a lot of votes, 3 million votes.”

  • Ordained and established: HLS scholars dissect the framers' contributions

    Ordained and established: HLS scholars dissect the framers’ contributions

    September 18, 2017

    On Sept. 17, 1787, the framers of the U.S. Constitution gathered to sign the historic document created to unite a group of states with different interests, laws and cultures; today, HLS faculty voices are providing us with history, interpretation and critical analysis of that document.

  • Summer 2009

    Michael Klarman: ‘The cause of social justice needs you as much as it ever has before’

    June 30, 2017

    Drawing on his interests in constitutional law, constitutional history, and racial equality, Professor Michael Klarman’s Last Lecture explored the obstacles faced — and in many ways, overcome — by feminist lawyers and African-American civil rights lawyers in the middle of the last century.

  • Kansas judicial conference speaker: Trump is ‘so-called president’

    June 12, 2017

    It’s one thing for President Donald Trump to criticize a sitting judge because he disagrees with a ruling the judge has made, legal historian Michael J. Klarman said Friday as he wound up a history presentation about the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. It’s quite another to attack a judge, Klarman said, calling the president’s remarks after a travel ban ruling “disgraceful.” “You’re going to see more attacks on the judiciary” by Trump, Klarman said to roughly 300 Kansas judges and justices from Kansas appellate and district courts during the Kansas Judicial Conference in Topeka.

  • Review: Harvard Law School Professor Tells Real U.S. Constitution Story

    March 22, 2017

    What is it about our U. S. Constitution that gets everyone so stirred up? It is among the most referred to documents in recent history. It is a secular document but it holds an almost religious sacredness to it...In his new book, "The Farmers' Coup, The Making of the United States Constitution," Harvard Law professor Michael J. Klarman, PhD points out that even in its conception, the U.S. Constitution was drafted from ordinary things (including human limitations) much like today. He told this reporter, when asked what are some of the misconceptions people today still have? "I think people tend to think of the Constitution as reflecting timeless principles of governance, whereas, in fact, there was a great deal of interest-group bargaining over both the drafting and ratification of the Constitution."

  • Re-enacting the Vincent Chin Trial

    Reenacting the Vincent Chin Trial

    March 21, 2017

    As part of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association’s (APALSA) annual conference, “Soft Power Hard Knockout: The Asian American Punch,” on Feb. 4, Harvard Law School presented a reenactment of the Vincent Chin trial, written by Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

  • Beyond Roe v. Wade: Here’s What Gorsuch Means for Abortion

    March 20, 2017

    Last year, on a presidential debate stage opposite Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump vowed, once president, to appoint “pro-life judges” to the Supreme Court. After enough of them, he said, the reversal of Roe v. Wade—the 44-year-old opinion that made abortion legal throughout the United States—would “happen automatically.”...“There’s a lot of reason to be concerned if you’re a big fan of women’s reproductive rights,” says Michael Klarman, a professor at Harvard Law School. “As soon as you overturned the trimester framework in Roe, you’re no longer in the realm of being bound by precedent.”

  • Six New England authors named finalists for George Washington history prize

    February 17, 2017

    Seven finalists were named for the $50,000 George Washington Prize — which recognizes works written about the founding era in American history — and six of the works have authors with New England ties...Three Harvard professors are also among the finalists. Annette Gordon-Reed, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, wrote “ ‘Most Blessed of the Patriarchs’: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination” with Peter S. Onuf. Historian Jane Kamensky published “A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley,” and law professor Michael J. Klarman was cited for “The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution.”

  • Former Classmates Reflect on Gorsuch’s Law School Days

    February 9, 2017

    As President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil M. Gorsuch seems like an unlikely friend for many at Harvard Law School. ...As a judge, Gorsuch has similarly not explicitly shared controversial views. Law School professor Michael J. Klarman wrote in an email that Gorsuch’s views on a number of contentious legal topics remain unclear. “We don't know, based on his judicial opinions, what are Gorsuch's views on lots of issues, but he has given speeches suggesting courts have played too large a role on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, and he has rendered decisions suggesting broad support for religious exemptions with regard to statutes that impose unwanted burdens on religious practices,” Klarman wrote. Klarman wrote that while he would have preferred Merrick B. Garland ’74, former President Barack Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court whose confirmation was blocked by Republican senators, he didn’t have any particular preference about who Trump nominated. “I regard Justices as largely fungible votes. Any Trump appointee would vote the same way on abortion, affirmative action, gun control, etc., as any other,” Klarman wrote.

  • The Court and the People

    February 8, 2017

    “No matter whether the country follows the flag or not, the Supreme Court follows the election returns,” wrote the Chicago humorist and author Finley Peter Dunne in 1901. More than a century later, many legal scholars and historians take Dunne’s famous quip—which identified a relationship between Supreme Court decisions and popular opinion—as gospel...However, it may be important to distinguish between the ability and the willingness of justices to make sweeping decisions that challenge the status quo. Michael Klarman, a legal historian and professor at Harvard Law School, told the HPR that in a majority of cases, “[justices] have a lack of inclination to do things that are dramatically contrary to public opinion.” Klarman attributes this reluctance to a variety of reasons.

  • Podcast: A new look at America’s founding (Audio)

    January 6, 2017

    Over the last few weeks, We the People has featured programs held at the National Constitution Center last fall. This week, that review concludes with Michael Klarman, Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of The Framers’ Coup, and Patrick Spero, Librarian of the American Philosophical Society and co-editor of The American Revolution Reborn, who offer new perspectives on the American Revolution and the Founding era. Tom Donnelly, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Constitution Center, moderates.

  • Harvard Law School: 2016 in review

    December 22, 2016

    A look back at 2016, highlights of the people who visited, events that took place and everyday life at Harvard Law School.

  • A Conservative Counterrevolution

    December 19, 2016

    ...In his new book The Framers’ Coup, Michael J. Klarman explains how this brief, geographically isolated, and seemingly thwarted uprising fundamentally shaped American governance. The Bancroft Prize-winning legal historian and Kirkland & Ellis professor of law writes, “Shays’s Rebellion played a critical role in the creation of the Constitution.”

  • The Constitution: An Origin Story

    December 14, 2016

    Professor Michael Klarman’s “The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution” gathers for the first time in a single volume the tumultuous story of the 1787 creation of our nation’s founding document, in the kind of rich detail earlier reserved for multivolume works.

  • Randall Kennedy on ‘The Framers’ Coup’

    December 12, 2016

    A desire to learn more about three subjects led me to read the five new books I most enjoyed this year. In this moment of high anxiety about the state of American politics one can receive useful perspective by studying Michael Klarman’s magisterial “The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution.”

  • Diversity and U.S. Legal History

    December 7, 2016

    During the fall 2016 semester, a group of leading scholars came together at Harvard Law School for the lecture series, "Diversity and US Legal History," which was sponsored by Dean Martha Minow and organized by Professor Mark Tushnet, who also designed a reading group to complement the lectures.

  • The Electoral College Has Been Divisive Since Day One

    November 22, 2016

    The Electoral College polarized Americans from its inception. Created by the framers of the Constitution during the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, the College was put forth as a way to give citizens the opportunity to vote in presidential elections, with the added safeguard of a group of knowledgeable electors with final say on who would ultimately lead the country, another limit on the burgeoning nation’s democratic ideals..."[Southerners] wanted slaves to count the same as anyone else, and some northerners thought slaves shouldn’t be counted at all because they were treated as property rather than as people," says author Michael Klarman, a professor at Harvard Law School. In his recently released book, The Framers’ Coup, Klarman discusses how each framer’s interests came into play while creating the document that would one day rule the country. “One of two biggest divisions at the Philadelphia convention was over how slaves would count in purposes of apportioning the House of Representatives," he explains. The issue vexed and divided the founders, presenting what James Madison, a slave owner, called a “difficulty…of a serious nature."

  • Rewrite the Constitution? Here’s how a convention could do it

    November 22, 2016

    The increasing dominance of Republicans inside statehouses across the nation has spurred talk that a constitutional convention — the very meeting that crafted the US Constitution — could be more than just a Hail Mary thrown to conservatives. Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers have been planning for the possibility for years, although it picked up steam three years ago after a group of state lawmakers met at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, just outside Washington...Under the current Constitution, if they could get enough states to approve opening a convention, any changes made in the convention would still have to be approved by at least 38 states — the three-fourths majority of states. But they could also rewrite the rules entirely — like the original framers of the Constitution did in 1787. Mike Klarman, Kirkland and Ellis professor of law at Harvard Law School and a constitutional historian, notes that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 had rules they had agreed on and were only supposed to tinker with the existing Articles of Confederation.

  • Rethinking America’s Founding (video)

    November 15, 2016

    Michael Klarman, Harvard Law Professor and author of The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution, and Patrick Spero, Librarian at the American Philosophical Society and editor of The American Revolution Reborn, discuss their new books, putting a human face on America’s Framers and reassessing the clashes that helped define the Founding era. Tom Donnelly, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the National Constitution Center, moderated the discussion on Monday, November 14.

  • Law School Launches Series on Diversity

    September 8, 2016

    After a year that saw Harvard Law School embroiled in debates over race and diversity, Law School Dean Martha L. Minow has launched a new lecture series entitled “Diversity and U.S. Legal History.” The 10-week series, which kicked off Wednesday, is a joint effort on the part of the Dean’s office and Law School professor Mark Tushnet’s reading group, which bears the same title as the series....The lecturers—who include Law School professors Randall L. Kennedy, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Annette Gordon-Reed, Michael Klarman, and Kenneth W. Mack, Divinity School professor Diana L. Eck—will discuss topics ranging from race in American history, to challenges facing Latinos, the originalist case for reparations, and religious pluralism...Law School professor Joseph William Singer delivered the first talk—“567 Nations: The History of Federal Indian Law”—to a crowded room Wednesday in the school’s student center. Singer recounted the development of colonial and United States law regarding Native Americans from the 18th century to the present, arguing that certain judicial rulings or government actions were unconstitutional.

  • Inside the conservative push for states to amend the Constitution

    August 26, 2016

    Taking advantage of almost a decade of political victories in state legislatures across the country, conservative advocacy groups are quietly marshaling support for an event unprecedented in the nation’s history: A convention of the 50 states, summoned to consider amending the Constitution. ... So what rules would an amendments convention follow? “The answer to almost every question you could ask is ‘We don’t know,'” said Michael J. Klarman, a constitutional law expert at Harvard whose book on that convention, “The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution,” will be published in October. “I think a convention can do anything they want — re-establish slavery, establish a national church. I just don’t think there’s any limit.”

  • Podcast: Hamilton, the man and the musical

    June 10, 2016

    The 70th Annual Tony Awards will be held in New York City on Sunday, June 12, and the big winner is expected to be Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical adaptation of Ron Chernow’s biography of the famous Founding Father...Joining We the People to remember “the 10-dollar founding father without a father” are two of the nation’s leading legal historians. Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School. She is also the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a Professor of History in the Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences. Michael Klarman is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

  • Commissioner Rob Manfred addresses future challenges for Major League Baseball

    February 5, 2016

    Commissioner Rob Manfred was at Harvard Law School on Tuesday for a brief but informative talk, one that covered new ground on several key issues. The conversation began with a half hour of questions from Professor Michael Klarman and was followed by 20 minutes of questions from students in the audience...Manfred was a graduate of Harvard Law in the class of 1983, after which he worked at a large law firm called Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, where he specialized in labor and employment law. It was that practice that led him to baseball, as the firm was hired by the league around the time of the 1990 lockout. Manfred would continue to work with MLB as outside counsel through the 90s, a period which included several highly contentious labor struggles, including the 1994 strike.

  • Inside baseball: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred ’83 on rules, rulings and marketing ‘the American pastime’

    February 4, 2016

    Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred '83 recently spoke with Harvard Law Today reporter Jonathan Topaz ’18 about his time at HLS and some pressing issues facing the MLB.

  • U.S. Constitution

    Harvard scholars commemorate Constitution Day

    September 17, 2015

    In celebration of Constitution Day—the annual commemoration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787—several Harvard Law School professors spoke about the document upon which the American legal and political systems have been built.

  • The Supreme Court Is Most Powerful When It Follows Public Opinion

    July 12, 2015

    An op-ed by Michael Klarman. The Supreme Court reflects shifting social mores at least as much as it influences them. Rulings such as Brown v. Board of Education and Obergefell were inconceivable until enormous changes in the surrounding social and political context had first occurred. Before Brown, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed the first black general in American history, President Harry S Truman issued executive orders desegregating the federal military and the civil service, and Jackie Robinson desegregated major league baseball. Even in the South, black voter registration increased from 3 percent in 1940 to 20 percent in 1950, and blacks began serving on juries and in local political offices for the first time since Reconstruction. Justice Sherman Minton noted “a different world today” with regard to race, during the Brown deliberations, and Felix Frankfurter remarked upon “the great changes in the relations between white and [black] people.”

  • Kennedy Key to Same-Sex Marriage Decision, Law Profs Say

    June 29, 2015

    Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision Friday that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage, several Harvard Law School professors said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who authored the majority opinion, played an extraordinary role in advancing the cause. “The majority opinion by Justice Kennedy was a triumph of reason and passion alike,” Law School professor and former Supreme Court clerk Laurence H. Tribe ’62 wrote in an email. ... Law School professor Michael J. Klarman wrote that Friday’s decision “confirms the extraordinary influence” of Kennedy, adding that he believes Kennedy is “the most powerful justice in history.” ... Law School professor Richard H. Fallon agreed that people opposed to same-sex marriage may be angry about the verdict, they are unlikely to act politically, given a shift in public support for same-sex marriage in recent years.  

  • ‘One for the ages’

    June 27, 2015

    It was the moment when gay marriage nationally went from being a cause to a fact. “This is one for the ages,” wrote Noah Feldman, Harvard’s Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law...Michael Klarman, Harvard’s Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law and author of “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage” (2012), called the ruling “the Brown v. Board of the gays rights movement. It’s obviously a great day for gay rights and for those who favor a more equal, inclusive America.”

  • Supreme Court justices have malleable view of democracy

    June 27, 2015

    An op-ed by Michael Klarman. By a narrow 5-to-4 majority, the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges has ruled that the US Constitution requires states to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry. The decision raises many interesting questions about the court and its role in American society: the extraordinary influence of one man (Justice Anthony Kennedy) on the court’s decision-making, the malleability of constitutional interpretation in the face of rapidly shifting social norms, and the justices’ willingness/reluctance to advance beyond public opinion in their constitutional interpretations. Yet the most interesting aspect of Obergefell may be the way the conservative justices chose to frame the issue in their four separate dissents: Each criticized the court’s refusal to defer to democratic decision making on the issue of gay marriage.

  • Harvard Law School: The road to marriage equality

    June 26, 2015

    Since at least 1983, when Harvard Law student Evan Wolfson ’83 wrote a third-year paper exploring a human rights argument for same-sex marriage, Harvard Law School has participated in anticipating, shaping, critiquing, analyzing and guiding the long path toward marriage equality.

  • The Roberts Court

    June 1, 2015

    To honor the life work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, L ’59, LL.D. ’11, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) convened a panel discussion of the Roberts Court on Radcliffe Day, traditionally held on the Friday after Commencement...The panel, she said, would discuss some of these calls, moderated by Margaret H. Marshall, Ed.M. ’69, former chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and senior research fellow and lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. “I cannot think of a better umpire,” Cohen said of Marshall, who received the Radcliffe Medal in 2012 (she is also a director of Harvard Magazine Inc.). The panelists were Linda Greenhouse ’68, former Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, now a journalist in residence and lecturer at Yale Law School; Michael Klarman, Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School, the author of the Harvard Magazine feature “How Same-Sex Marriage Came to Be”; Lauren Sudeall Lucas, J.D. ’05, an assistant professor at Georgia State University College of Law; and John Manning ’82, J.D. ’85, Bromley professor of law at HLS.

  • Harvard honors Ginsburg for gender-equality advocacy

    June 1, 2015

    The Notorious RBG was in town Friday. That’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Yes, the Supreme Court justice, honored at Harvard University for her work as a pioneer in gender equality, is having a cultural moment...Michael Klarman, a Harvard Law School professor, told stories of Ginsburg’s long push for gender equity in her professional — and personal — life. At one point during her time as a professor, Supreme Court litigator, and speaker in demand across the country, said Klarman, she received a series of calls about her son James acting up in class. “Finally, exasperated at the repeated phone calls, Ginsburg responded to one of them as follows: ‘This child has two parents. I suggest from now on you alternate between them when you need to speak to someone about James,’ ” said Klarman, who once clerked for the justice. “Ginsburg reports that even though James’s behavior did not materially improve, the phone calls ceased because the school would not dream of bothering a busy male tax attorney.”

  • Recognized as a force for change

    May 28, 2015

    “We present the Radcliffe Medal to an individual who has been a powerful and impressive force for change, someone who takes risks and forges ahead. These are hallmarks of Radcliffe.” Lizabeth Cohen, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, made this statement in announcing that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, is this year’s Radcliffe Medal recipient...Moderated by Margaret H. Marshall, Ed.M. ’69, a former chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, a senior research fellow and lecturer on law at Harvard Law School, and the 2012 Radcliffe Medalist, “A Decade of Decisions and Dissents” will feature the following panelists: Linda Greenhouse ’68, Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School, and former Supreme Court correspondent, The New York Times; Michael Klarman, Kirkland & Ellis Professor, Harvard Law School; Lauren Sudeall Lucas, J.D. ’05, assistant professor of law, Georgia State University College of Law; John Manning ’82, J.D. ’85, Bruce Bromley Professor of Law, Harvard Law School.

  • Obergefell V. Hodges May Go Down In History As Landmark Civil Rights Case (audio)

    April 28, 2015

    The Supreme Court today heard arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case which is likely to go down in the history books alongside other landmark civil rights cases. This one centers on two questions: first, whether there is a constitutional right to gay marriage, and second, if not, whether states that have bans on gay marriage have to recognize gay marriages performed in other states where it’s legal. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Harvard Law School professor Michael Klarman about the significance of Obergefell v. Hodges and where it fits in with other landmark Supreme Court cases, such as Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade.

  • Mary Bonauto set to argue for gay marriage before Supreme Court

    April 28, 2015

    It was the early 1980s, and Mary Bonauto was a college student in upstate New York, struggling to come out as gay. She turned to a priest for help but left convinced her church would not accept her. Unsure where to turn, she felt her life might “be over.” “The law was one way of making sure my life wouldn’t be over,” she recently recalled. “I could either just suffer from the system or change the system. I decided to opt on the change-the-system side.” ...“Mary Bonauto’s contributions to the gay rights movement are analogous to those of Thurgood Marshall to the civil rights movement and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the women’s rights movement,” Michael Klarman, a Harvard Law School professor, said in an e-mail.

  • Opponents of Gay Marriage Ponder Strategy as Issue Reaches Supreme Court

    April 23, 2015

    ...As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on same-sex marriage on Tuesday, the nation seems more ready to accept it than many imagined even a year ago. But divisions remain, and while more than half of Americans now endorse the idea, about one-third say they oppose it, according to survey data from 2014...“As more couples marry, more people will know people who are married,” said Michael J. Klarman, a legal historian at the Harvard Law School and author of a 2012 book on earlier same-sex marriage rulings. “And those who oppose it will find out that the sky doesn’t fall.”

  • A fresh face emerges as a leader in the movement against same-sex marriage

    April 15, 2015

    Another day, another town. Ryan T. Anderson, the conservative movement’s fresh-faced, millennial, Ivy League-educated spokesman against same-sex marriage, has another busy schedule. ... Discourteous is not a description usually applied to Anderson. “He’s a smart, likeable, very well-educated young person: an ideal spokesperson for the opposition to gay marriage,” Harvard law professor Michael Klarman, who recently sparred with Anderson at a law school event, writes in an e-mail. But Klarman, who wrote the book “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage,” adds, “It’s almost inconceivable to me that he persuaded anyone in the audience by his arguments.”

  • Analysis Supreme Court, in Alabama case, may have shown its hand on gay marriage

    February 10, 2015

    The Supreme Court on Monday gave its strongest signal yet that the legal fight for nationwide gay marriage has been won even before the issue is argued in April. The justices, with only two dissenting votes, turned down Alabama’s plea to delay same-sex marriages, clearing the way for gay couples to seek marriage licenses for the first time in the Deep South. A federal judge in Alabama had struck down in January the state’s law limiting marriage to a man and a woman...“It seems almost inconceivable that there are not five votes now for gay marriage, and I think a lot of us are wondering if the chief justice won’t be sorely tempted to be a sixth vote,” said Harvard law professor Michael Klarman, who has written about the fight for same-sex marriage.

  • Same-Sex Marriage Likely, Not Guaranteed, Law School Profs Predict

    January 22, 2015

    Following a Supreme Court decision last Friday to hear arguments on the issue of same-sex marriage, several Harvard Law School professors predict that the Court will grant a historic constitutional right to same-sex marriage nationwide, but they say a more moderate outcome remains a possibility...“I would guess that the best reading of the tea leaves is that there will be five votes upholding a right to gay marriage,” Richard H. Fallon, a Law School professor, said. He along with Charles Fried and Michael J. Klarman, also Law School professors, identified Justice Anthony Kennedy as the potential “swing vote.”...Law School professor and former Supreme Court clerk Laurence H. Tribe ’62 echoed the prediction in an email, writing that the he thinks the Court will “hold that the U.S. Constitution requires universal marriage equality.”...Mark V. Tushnet ’67, a Law School professor and former Supreme Court clerk, said that the addition of the second question allows the Court to “deal with the issue comprehensively, no matter the which way the first question came out.”

  • In Justices’ Calculations on Gay Marriage, a Legal Golden Ratio Looms

    November 24, 2014

    The Constitution is not a math problem, but numbers can play a role in the Supreme Court’s calculations. When the court struck down bans on interracial marriage in 1967, such unions were still illegal in 16 states. When the court struck down laws making gay sex a crime in 2003, 13 states still had antisodomy measures. Should the court take up the question of same-sex marriage this term or next, as it seems likely to, the unions will be against the law in no more than 15 states. ...But the comparisons are not completely airtight, said Michael J. Klarman, a legal historian at Harvard Law School. The decision on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia, he said, followed democratic consensus. State legislatures, not judges, had done almost all of the work in driving down the number of bans to 16.

  • Affiliates Laud Same-Sex Marriage Decision

    October 9, 2014

    While students active in the queer community said that they welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision Monday to let lower court judgments allowing gay marriage stand, some said that they worried that the issue of same-sex marriage overshadows other concerns of the BGLTQ community...Harvard Law School professor Michael J. Klarman said that he was surprised that the Court opted to uphold the lower court rulings rather than hear the case. He added that public support for same-sex marriage has been on the rise in recent years. “The future seems pretty clearly inevitable, in that [public] opinion is going to move in the direction of gay marriage even if the Court doesn’t intervene,” Klarman said.

  • Better late than never: Expect a high court OK on marriage equality soon

    September 22, 2014

    An op-ed by Michael Klarman. Over the last year, lower federal court judges have removed most of the suspense from the questions of whether and when the Supreme Court might rule marriage equality to be a federal constitutional right. In case after case, in red states and blue, judges have ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. This makes it very likely that the Supreme Court will grant review in such a case this year, and even more likely, assuming it does, that it will rule that the Constitution requires states to extend marriage equality to gay couples.

  • How events in Ferguson put race back on the agenda

    August 26, 2014

    Over the last two weeks, a formerly obscure suburb of St. Louis has become a crucible for how race is lived in America.In Ferguson, much depends on the course of the investigation and whether residents consider it impartial and thorough. A failure to charge the officer involved or to secure a guilty verdict is likely to produce fresh clashes. “It’s going to be hard to convince the African Americans in Ferguson that this police officer didn’t do something outrageous,” says Michael Klarman, a legal historian and constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School.

  • Same-sex marriage foes hope to turn tide at mega-hearing in Cincinnati

    August 11, 2014

    …The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled on Wednesday to hear six cases from four states — Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio — where federal judges have ruled in recent months in favor of gay couples seeking marriage rights. Prior to the persistent string of pro-gay decisions, many legal experts agreed that Campbell’s view might draw some anti-gay rulings. Harvard Law professor Michael Klarman, a same-sex-marriage proponent, saw Kennedy’s opinion in Windsor as unclear and noted that it’s still likely more-conservative federal judges will rule differently, perhaps even at the 6th Circuit, where two of Wednesday’s three panelists were appointed by President George W. Bush. “I would guess that when the cases from the Deep South get decided, the chances will increase that some of the rulings will go against gay marriage,” Klarman said.