May 9, 2014

Registration Open: Workshop on Transnational Perspectives on Equality Law, Washington, DC (June 22-24, 2014)

The AALS Workshop on Transnational Perspectives on Equality Law is scheduled for June 22-24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Network member Julie C. Suk, (Cardozo School of Law) is part of the Planning Committee and will moderate two Plenary Sessions. Moreover, network member David Oppenheimer (Berkeley Law) will be one of the panelists. The Planning Committee's description of the workshop is below along with instructions for registration. Online registration can be found here.

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Association of American Law Schools

Workshop on Transnational Perspectives on Equality Law
June 22-24, 2014, Washington, DC (The Renaissance Mayflower Hotel)

Antidiscrimination law is an American invention that has spread all around the world.  During the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, antidiscrimination law promised radical social transformations towards equality for women and minorities in the workplace, in politics, and in education.  But recent developments in Equal Protection and Title VII doctrine have paralyzed this trajectory.  Meanwhile, the last decade has seen the unprecedented globalization of antidiscrimination law, as well as its expansion and alternative development outside the United States, catalyzed largely by the European Union's two directives in 2000, on race equality and on equal treatment in employment.  Over the last few years, a new body of equality law and policy experimentation has emerged not only in the EU and in European countries, but also in South Africa, Canada, Latin America, and Asia. There is a range of public policies adopted to mitigate the disadvantages of vulnerable groups such as racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, women, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor, constituting an "equality law" that goes beyond norms prohibiting discrimination.

At the same time, antidiscrimination law in the United States seems to be changing. U.S. Supreme Court decisions over the last several years (Ricci v. DeStefano, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, Wal-Mart v. Dukes, and Shelby County v. Holder) have signaled the end of antidiscrimination law as envisioned by the civil rights movement in the United States.  In response, there is growing scholarly interest in finding new approaches to the persistent problem of structural inequality.  Comparative reflection is a productive tool, particularly when energy and optimism surrounds the trajectory of antidiscrimination law and equality policy outside of the United States.  Now that there is over a decade's worth of new antidiscrimination activity in the EU countries following the 2000 equality directives, the time is ripe for scholarly reflection and evaluation of these developments. From an intellectual, practical, and strategic perspective, antidiscrimination scholars in the United States can no longer ignore developments in antidiscrimination law in other countries.

While a growing number of American legal scholars are lamenting the limits of antidiscrimination law, the recent growth of this body of law outside of the United States has largely gone unnoticed. The central purpose of this mid-year meeting is to widen the comparative lens on U.S. equality law - its failures, its achievements, and its potential - across a variety of subject areas.  The meeting will provide a unique and much-needed opportunity to bring together scholars from various fields - constitutional law, employment discrimination law, comparative law, comparative constitutional law, election law, education law - to deepen and enrich the scholarship and teaching of equality.   The meeting will also provide a unique opportunity for U.S. scholars to interact with a wide, varied, and stimulating group of antidiscrimination scholars working around the world.

Additionally, law schools are increasingly making their curricula more transnational and comparative. This conference will assist teachers in integrating comparative perspectives to illuminate constitutional law, employment discrimination law, employment law, and other traditional subjects.

This Workshop will explore a number of critical questions including what is at stake in looking comparatively when doing equality law; how affirmative action is understood in other legal systems; understanding disparate impact, accommodation, and positive rights.  There will be discussions of religion, profiling, and equality and social movements.  Transnational perspectives on equality law will be a greater component of antidiscrimination scholarship going forward. This meeting should not be missed.

Who Should Attend? 

This program encourages participation of legal scholars and fellows based at research or teaching institutions both inside and outside the United States teaching comparative, labor and employment, critical race, constitutional, civil rights, criminal law, immigration, poverty, socio-economics, international law, and international human rights.


The workshop will begin on Sunday, June 22 with registration at 4:00 p.m. followed by a reception at 6:00 p.m. The workshop will conclude at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24.  In addition to the program sessions, there will be luncheons on Monday and Tuesday and another reception on Monday evening.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
AALS Registration                                                              

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
AALS Reception

Monday, June 23, 2014

8:45 - 10:30 a.m.
Judith Areen, Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Law Schools

Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Charles S. Rhyne Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law and Chair, Planning Committee for AALS Workshop on Transnational Perspectives of Equality Law

Plenary Session: Why Comparative and Transnational Equality Law?

  • Vicki C. Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School
  • J. Christopher McCrudden, Professor of Human Rights and Equality Law, School of Law   Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Adilson José Moreira, Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV) School of Law, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Chantal Thomas, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

Moderator:  Julie C. Suk, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

Since Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, judges and scholars have been debating about the relevance of foreign law in U.S. constitutional interpretation, particularly when it comes to concepts like dignity and equality.  This panel will discuss the phenomenon of constitutional migration and constitutional borrowing, particularly in the development of constitutional doctrines that protect against discrimination.  Constitutional comparison can raise debates about the meaning of "dignity" across national borders, and the relationship of equality to positive and negative conceptions of liberty.  How might antidiscrimination law take shape in constitutional traditions that impose positive duties on the state?

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.                                                                                      
Refreshment Break                                                                                    

10:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Plenary Session: Affirmative Action, Positive Discrimination, Quotas and Parity

  • Lani Guinier, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Ruth Rubio Marin, Professor of Constitutional and Public Comparative Law, European University Institute Department of Law, Florence, Italy
  • Gerald Torres, Marc and Beth Goldberg Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
  • Patrick Weil, Senior Research Fellow, University of Paris I - Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique, Paris, France

Moderator:  Reva B. Siegel, Nicholas deB Katzenbach Professor of Law, Yale Law School

This panel will consider the rise of quotas as a policy tool to achieve race and gender balance in various contexts - legislatures, higher education, employment, and corporate governance.  In Europe, many countries are implementing gender quotas, and Brazil is experimenting with racial quotas.   How do quotas compare to other forms of race-conscious affirmative action and positive discrimination?  What might different national legal orders learn from the evolving constitutional conflicts over quotas and affirmative action?

1:00-2:30 p.m.                                                                                            
AALS Luncheon                                                                                        

Introduction:  Judith Areen, Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Law Schools

Speaker:  Chai R. Feldblum, Commissioner, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington D.C.

2:30 - 4:15 p.m.
Plenary Session: Disparate Impact, Accommodation, and Positive Rights

  • Samuel Bagenstos, Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
  • Sandra Fredman, Rhodes Professor of the Laws of the British Commonwealth and the United States, University of Oxford Faculty of Law, Oxford, England
  • Mathias Moschel, Post-Doc, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, France

Moderator: Julie C. Suk Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

Should equality and antidiscrimination law impose positive duties to accommodate the less advantaged? Disparate impact doctrine, also known as "indirect discrimination," migrated overseas shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Griggs v. Duke Power Company in 1971.  While U.S. courts narrowed the scope of disparate impact discrimination, some European courts embraced and broadened liability for "indirect discrimination, developing a concept of equality as a positive right.  What can be learned from these different trajectories?

4:15-4:30 p.m.                                          
Refreshment Break

4:30-6:15 p.m.
Plenary Session:  Secularism and Religious Tolerance

  • Lama Abu-Odeh, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Julieta Lemaitre Ripoll, Associate Professor, University of Los Andes Faculty of Law, Bogota, Colombia
  • Stephanie Hennette-Vauchez, Professor, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Defense, Paris, France
Moderator and Speaker:  Richard T. Ford, George E. Osborne Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

Although a guarantee of religious liberty and official state neutrality with respect to religion are commitments of many liberal democratic nation-states, national laws and norms differ significantly in important details.  Expressions of religious commitment are a regular part of political life in the United States and American law has long required some religious exemptions from public school and workplace dress codes and now holds that religious freedom exempts religious institutions from some generally applicable anti discrimination laws.   But at the same time, American law forbids most types of public subsidy for religious institutions.  By contrast, many European nations understand religious liberty to require a strict governmental secularism that forbids religiously inspired dress in any public institution, including public schools.  But many European nations subsidize religious institutions.  How should we account for these and other differences in the interpretation of religious freedom and state neutrality?  Do the specifics of legal doctrine, different national histories and traditions, or distinctive normative political commitments explain the different view of appropriate religious tolerance and state neutrality?

6:15-7:45 p.m.
AALS Reception

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

9:00-10:30 a.m.
Plenary Session: Teaching Equality Transnationally in US Law Schools

  • Sheila R. Foster, Vice Dean; Albert A. Walsh Professor of Law; Co-Director, Stein Center for Law and Ethics, Fordham University School of Law
  • Tanya Kateri Hernandez, Professor of Law Fordham University School of Law
  • David B. Oppenheimer, Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Professional Skills Program, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Mark V. Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Moderator: Timothy A. Canova, Professor of Law and Public Finance, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center

10:30-10:45 a.m.
Refreshment Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions from Call for Papers

12:15 - 2:00 p.m.
Concluding Lunch  Roundtable on "The Global Future of Equality Law"

  • Devon Wayne Carbado, The Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Douglas NeJaime, Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Charles M. and Marion J. Kierscht Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
  • Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School

Moderator: Guy-Uriel Charles, Charles S. Rhyne Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

In this final session, leading scholars of gender and race equality in the United States will react to the presentations delivered throughout the Workshop.  The discussion will synthesize the insights gained through the global and transnational turn for the future of American equality.


You can choose to register for the Workshop on Transnational Perspectives on Equality Law by one of the methods below.

If you are a law teacher or fellow at an AALS Member or Fee Paid school, you can register online at using American Express, Visa or MasterCard by using your email address as your username.  If you are unable to register online even when clicking for a new password, you should contact your law school dean's office to be added to the AALS Law School roster whether you have  a tenure, tenure track, contract, visiting, adjunct, or fellow position at the law school.  If you need assistance, contact

FAX or Scan and Email:
If you are a faculty member at an international law school,  research or teaching university or at a non-member law school, complete the Registration Form and send it with payment via FAX to AALS at (202) 872-1829 or scan and email to  AALS accepts American Express, Visa, MasterCard.  If you are paying by check, please mail the form and check directly to AALS, 1614 20th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20009-1001.

Registration Fees
AALS Member & Fee-Paid Law School Faculty, Fellows, or Adjuncts
By June 4: $495; After June 4: $545

International Law School, Research University, or Non-Member Law School Faculty
By June 4: $585; After June 4: $635

Register by June 4, 2014 to receive the early bird discount registration fee.

On-Site Registration
If your form with payment has not arrived at AALS by June 13, 2014 it will be necessary for you to register on-site. There is an additional charge of $50.00 to register after June 13.   AALS accepts cash, personal or school checks, American Express, MasterCard, and Visa for on-site payment for the workshop.

Refund Policy
The registration fee will be refunded less $50, which covers administrative cost, for cancellations received by June 4th. Cancellations received between June 5th and June 13th will receive a refund of 50% of the registration fee. No refunds will be given after June 14th. Please contact AALS at to cancel your registration.


The workshop sessions and sleeping accommodations will be located at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel located at 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC.  The Mayflower opened in 1925 and was quickly labeled Washington, DC's "Second Best Address" by President Harry Truman.  This historic hotel is near Dupont Circle and is also close to the Farragut North Metro stop that  can easily take you to  national monuments and museums.

Hotel Reservations: 

To make a hotel reservation, registrants must first register for the workshop.  After completing the meeting registration process, registrants will receive a confirmation email from the AALS with instructions and a link for booking an online hotel reservation at the Mayflower Hotel.

Room Rate:
The room rate is $239 for single or double occupancy. All rooms are subject to 2014 established sales tax currently at 14.5%.   Children staying in the same room with their parent(s) are free of charge. There is an additional charge of $20 per person for more than two adults sharing a room.

The Mayflower Hotel check-in time is 3:00 pm; check-out time is 12:00 p.m. The Mayflower Hotel will provide AALS registrants high-speed internet access known as "Wired-For-Business" in your sleeping room on a complimentary basis for each day of your stay.  The hotel has a smoke-free policy.


The cut-off date for making a hotel reservation is June 6, 2014.  To ensure your sleeping accommodations, please register for the workshop early in order to book your hotel reservation. Making a reservation prior to the cut-off date does not guarantee availability of the AALS rate.

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