Magna Carta Celebration and Exhibit

From Runnymede to Philadelphia to Cyberspace:
The Enduring Legacy of Magna Carta

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Brooklyn Law School
8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Brooklyn Law School - Magna Carta Celebration and Exhibit

Brooklyn Law School will mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and Constitution Day in the United States with an extraordinary global gathering of renowned legal scholars, authors, artists, historians, public officials, librarians, and archivists from around the world for a wide-ranging discussion of the continuing impact of this seminal document on U.S. law, civil rights and liberties, art, the role of libraries and archives in the Digital Age, and law in order in Cyberspace.

Read more about the Magna Carta traveling exhibit at Brooklyn Law School.


(Programs will take place in the Jerome Prince Moot Court Room unless otherwise noted.)

8:30-9:00 a.m.

Breakfast                       Location: Student Lounge

9:00-9:15 a.m.

Welcome by Nicholas W. Allard, President and Joseph Crea Dean, Brooklyn Law School

Opening Remarks by Liz Medaglia, Immediate Past Chair, Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, American Bar Association

9:15-10:00 a.m.

KeynoteMagna Carta: Tyranny, Treachery and Liberty

Derek Taylor, Historian, television journalist, and author of Magna Carta in 20 Places

10:15-11:45 a.m.

Panel—Secrets of the Archives: Why We Preserve Documents in the Digital Age*

Preserving physical documents can be costly and time-consuming. Why, then, do we do it, when we could simply scan documents and discard or abandon the originals? Panelists will discuss what, even in the digital age, we can learn from physical documents such as Magna Carta. The speakers will address how researchers use documents, both physical and digital; what information would be lost if we had only digitized documents; and how even digitization causes preservation problems as technology evolves.

Moderator: Janet Sinder, Director of the Library and Associate Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Christopher Beauchamp, Associate Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Fenella G. France, Acting Director & Chief, Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress
Christina Mulligan, Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Julia Walworth, Research Fellow and Librarian, Merton College, Oxford University
Michael Widener, Rare Book Librarian and Lecturer in Legal Research, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School

*A Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event

12:00-1:15 p.m.

Luncheon Program                                              Location: Subotnick Center

Are the Rule of Law and Constitutional Rights Compatible with Democracy?

Introduction by Joel Gora, Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Remarks by Dr. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, Senior Consultant on Constitutional Affairs to Policy Exchange

At the very time when the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is justifiably celebrated, the core principles it enshrines are not without serious theoretical and practical problems.
In the United States, apparently politicized decisions of the Supreme Court in cases relating to voting rights and to the funding of election campaigns have once again raised questions about the Court’s appropriate role.

In the United Kingdom, conflict between the House of Commons and judges of the powerful European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg led in 2011 to the creation of a Commission on a Bill of Rights. Its basic task was to explore the boundaries between judicial and legislative authority. This issue is unresolved and threatens to create a crisis in the relationship between the UK, the Council of Europe, and the European Union.


Hon. Andrew Napolitano, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School, FOX News Senior Judicial Analyst

1:30-2:30 p.m.

The Artist and the Law  

A conversation with Hew Locke, London-based sculptor and contemporary visual artist who created the piece The Jurors on permanent display at Runnymede to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta

Nicholas W. Allard, President and Joseph Crea Dean, Brooklyn Law School

How would you create a public sculpture that speaks not just to the British public, but to international visitors, and would remain relevant for many decades? Hew Locke's The Jurors incorporates images, people and abstract symbols relating to ongoing struggles for freedom, rule of law and equal rights. Locke intended the work not as a parade of heroes or a memorial, but a prompt for discussion on the often conflicting ideas of justice, which have constantly shifted throughout history and across the globe.

2:45-4:15 p.m.

Building a Magna Carta for the Digital Era – Collaborative Drafting of a Citizens’ Charter for Cyberspace

In 1215, a few “noble” men drafted Magna Carta. In 1648, a few European “sovereigns” established the Peace of Westphalia creating a foundation for the system of modern nation-states. In 1776, a few well-educated white, male landowners drafted the US Declaration of Independence. In 1996, John Perry Barlow drafted A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. In 2015, 800 years after Magna Carta, we begin to harness our collective experience, knowledge, wisdom, and judgment to “hack" a Citizens’ Charter for Cyberspace. We will collaborate on the principles and language for such a Charter, and the creation of a living, breathing document for the next phase in human and planetary relations. In the spirit of the hackathon, this “verbal hackathon” attempts to harness the ethos of the white-hat hacker to focus on solutions and ways forward.

Moderator: Jonathan Askin, Founder/Director, Brooklyn Incubator & Policy Clinic; Innovation Catalyst, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship

John Perry Barlow, Co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation; entrepreneur, writer and lyricist (via Skype)
Daniel Berninger, Founder of VCXC – Voice Communication Exchange Committee
Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Technology Fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project
Harry Halpin, W3C Staff and Research Scientist at CSAIL/MIT
Reed Hundt, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital
Charles Nesson, Weld Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Jeff Pulver, Co-founder of Vonage and Zula
Douglas Rushkoff, Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics, Queens College/City University of New York
Marina Sitrin, Visiting Scholar at the Center for Place and Politics at the City University of New York

4:30-6:00 p.m.

Lecture & Commentary: Magna Carta's American Adventure

Introduction by William Araiza, Vice Dean and Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Remarks by A.E. Dick Howard, White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs, University of Virginia School of Law

Magna Carta has left an indelible mark on American constitutionalism. At the core of this legacy is the idea of the rule of law. Magna Carta's assurance of proceedings according to the "law of the land," for example, is the direct ancestor of American ideas of due process of law.

In the years leading up to the Revolution, Americans drew upon Magna Carta to frame their arguments against British policies. Ideas drawn from English constitutionalism, including Magna Carta, helped Americans shape their state constitutions and the Federal Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights.

The story of American constitutionalism is one of both tradition and innovation. Just as Magna Carta proved adaptable to the crises of later times, so has American constitutionalism proved to be organic and evolving, and to which each generation brings its insights on personal liberty.

Susan N. Herman, Centennial Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School; President of the ACLU
I. Bennett Capers, Stanley A. August Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School