Office of Communications
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Princeton, New Jersey 08544-5264
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301

Feb. 13, 2001

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-5748,

Editors: See information for media at end of release.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to speak at Princeton

Gives concluding address in major conference on James Madison

Princeton, N.J. -- United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be the concluding speaker at a Princeton University conference Feb. 22 and 23 examining the historic role and legacy of James Madison, the fourth president of the U.S. and "Father of the Constitution."

Scalia will speak at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 in 50 McCosh Hall on the Princeton campus. His address, "Madison's Constitutional Interpretation," is part of the yearlong celebration of the centennial of Princeton University's Graduate School. Among the other speakers at the conference are Lloyd Axworthy, former Canadian minister of foreign affairs, and leading Madison scholars.

The conference, "A Constitution for the Ages: James Madison the Framer," opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 and continues all day Friday. It brings together leading figures in a "Madison renaissance" taking place in the American historical community, which has come to view Madison as a pivotal player in the development of American government and political thought. Madison, a co-author of "The Federalist Papers" and prime mover behind the Constitutional Convention of 1787, had a crucial yet misunderstood role in creating partisan party politics, according to scholars planning the conference.

"The conference represents an unplanned convergence between the revival of academic Madison studies and the deeply felt public rededication to American constitutionalism following the crises of the Clinton impeachment and the contested 2000 election," said Stanley Katz, professor of law and public affairs at Princeton. "Never have we felt the need for profound and dispassionate understanding of Madisonian constitutionalism than in the year 2001."

Madison also has a special place in Princeton's history. He graduated from Princeton in 1771, when it was known as the College of New Jersey, and served as the first president of Princeton's alumni association. He is also Princeton's first graduate student in a field other than theology, having stayed on after graduation to study Hebrew and ethics with the president of the university, John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

After his address on Madison's Constitutional interpretation, Scalia will answer questions on his lecture topic.

Born in Trenton, Scalia graduated from Georgetown University and Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Cleveland, Ohio until he joined the faculty of the University of Virginia Law School in 1967, and spent many years teaching law at Virginia, the University of Chicago and Stanford University, and in government service.

President Reagan appointed Scalia to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982. Four years later, Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court, and the Senate confirmed him as an associate justice on Sept. 17, 1986.

In addition to Scalia and Axworthy, the following scholars will speak at the Madison conference:

Gordon Wood, professor of history at Brown University, has written or edited a dozen books and many scholarly articles about the American Revolution, the creation of the American republic, and the U.S. Constitution. One book, "The Radicalism of the American Revolution," won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize in history. Wood has served on more than three dozen professional and community committees, including the American Historical Association Committee for the Bicentennial Celebration of the American Revolution and advisory committees for the papers of Madison and Jefferson.

Jack Rackove is the W.R. Coe Professor of History and American Studies at Stanford University, teaching courses on early American history and on the origins and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. He has written four books, including "Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution," which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in history. In 1998, Rakove testified at the impeachment hearings held by the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee on the background and history of impeachment.

Pauline Maier, the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of American History at MIT, writes mainly on the American Revolution. Her reviews of books on American history appear frequently in the New York Times Book Review, and her own book, "American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence," was named by the Book Review as one of the best books of 1997. Maier also served as a consultant and commentator on the six-part PBS series, "Liberty! The American Revolution."

John Stagg, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, is the editor-in-chief of "The Papers of James Madison" and the author of other books and articles on Madison and early American history. He is at work on two projects: a social history of the U.S. Army, and a project on Madison and the Spanish borderlands as episodes in early American foreign policy.

Jennifer Nedelsky is a professor at the University of Toronto, where she focuses on feminist theory, political and legal theory, and Constitutional law and history. Her publications include a book called "Private Property and the Limits of American Constitutionalism," as well as articles on law and the Constitution.

For more information about the conference, including a complete schedule, visit

Note: The conference, including the address by Scalia, is open to the press. Because space is limited, please contact the Communications Office at (609) 258-3601 if you plan to attend. Scalia will answer questions from the audience, including questions from the press, on the subject of his address only. Filming of his address is NOT permitted.