Boston University School of Law is delighted to celebrate the publication of "Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues" by James E. Fleming, Professor of Law & The Honorable Frank R. Kenison Distinguished Scholar & Linda C. McClain, Professor of Law & Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar.
Many have argued in recent years that the U.S. constitutional system exalts individual rights over responsibilities, virtues, and the common good. In Ordered Liberty (Harvard University Press, 2013), answering the charges against liberal theories of rights, James Fleming and Linda McClain develop and defend a civic liberalism that takes responsibilities and virtues—as well as rights—seriously. They provide an account of ordered liberty that protects basic liberties stringently, but not absolutely, and permits government to encourage responsibility and inculcate civic virtues without sacrificing personal autonomy to collective determination. The battle over same-sex marriage is one of many current controversies the authors use to defend their understanding of the relationship among rights, responsibilities, and virtues. Against accusations that same-sex marriage severs the rights of marriage from responsible sexuality, procreation, and parenthood, they argue that same-sex couples seek the same rights, responsibilities, and goods of civil marriage that opposite-sex couples pursue. Securing their right to marry respects individual autonomy while also promoting moral goods and virtues. Other issues to which they apply their idea of civic liberalism include reproductive freedom, the proper roles and regulation of civil society and the family, the education of children, and clashes between First Amendment freedoms (of association and religion) and antidiscrimination law. Articulating common ground between liberalism and its critics, Fleming and McClain develop an account of responsibilities and virtues that appreciates the value of diversity in our morally pluralistic constitutional democracy.
To celebrate the publication of this timely and significant book, we have invited three distinguished scholars to comment on it. Professors Fleming and McClain will respond.
Welcome: Dean Maureen O’Rourke, BU School of Law
Moderator: Gary Lawson, Philip S. Beck Professor of Law, BU School of Law
-Michael C. Dorf, Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
-Richard H. Fallon, Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School
-Marion Smiley, J.P. Morgan Chase Professor of Ethics, Brandeis University
Copies of the book will be available for purchase and Professors Fleming and McClain will be signing them!
All – including not only professors, law students, graduate students, and undergraduates, but also alumni and the general public – are welcome to attend the symposium. If you have academic questions about the program, please contact Professor Gary Lawson, firstname.lastname@example.org.