Harvard’s Richard Fallon draws big crowd at Constitution Day

PORTLAND, Maine – Prof. Richard Fallon, one of the nation’s leading scholars and teachers in constitutional law, delivered a lecture at the University of Maine School of Law on Sept. 17, 2012, for the school’s annual recognition of Constitution Day.

The free lecture drew a standing-room only crowd of more than 100 people to the Law School’s Moot Court Room.

Fallon explored one of our country’s most challenging balancing acts: How can we adapt the U.S. Constitution to meet the needs of the 21st century, while remaining true to the original document, most of which was written more than 200 years ago?

Fallon is the Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, where he has taught since 1982. A synopsis of his presentation was provided by Harvard Law:

“Many Americans might be shocked to learn that the Constitution of the United States has ceased to be the leading model for constitution-writers in other countries. In discussing this development, Harvard Law Professor Richard Fallon rejects the hypothesis that our Constitution, which was mostly written in the eighteenth century, leaves us stuck with the equivalent of constitutionalism 1.0, while other nations have achieved the sophisticated functionality of constitutionalism 2.0. But Professor Fallon also identifies a tension between the interpretive adaptations that have been needed to keep our Constitution workable in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and familiar ideals of ‘the rule of law.’ Going forward, he argues, the greatest challenge for American constitutionalism is to manage the tension between interpretive adaptability and fidelity to the Constitution as written.”

Fallon is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School. He also earned a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Before entering teaching, Fallon served as a law clerk to Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and to Justice Lewis F. Powell of the United States Supreme Court.

Fallon’s books about Constitutional law and federal courts include The Dynamic Constitution (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and Implementing the Constitution (Harvard University Press, 2001).