Law Journal Symposium to examine 'American Exceptionalism' Sept. 30

Law Journal Symposium to examine ‘American Exceptionalism’ Sept. 30

Walter Mondale, former vice president, U.S. senator and ambassador to Japan, will present opening remarks at an upcoming University of St. Thomas School of Law symposium on “American Exceptionalism in the 21st Century.”

The school’s fall 2005 Law Journal Symposium will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, in Schulze Grand Atrium of the School of Law building, located at 11th Street and Harmon Place in downtown Minneapolis.

The symposium includes a buffet lunch and is open to the public. Registration is required and reservations must be made by Monday, Sept. 19. Registration is free to all St. Thomas and non-St. Thomas students, and to St. Thomas faculty and staff. For all others, the registration fee is $15. To make reservations or for more information call the School of Law, (651) 962-4858.

The symposium, which includes morning and afternoon panel discussions, will examine what is meant by the term “American exceptionalism” and how it relates to human rights, theology, government and public policy.

To some, American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States and its people hold a special place in the world, and offer opportunity and hope for humanity. This hope, some feel, is derived from a balance of public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedoms.

To others, however, the term American exceptionalism reflects a sense of moral superiority and is little more than crude propaganda. It demonstrates an American-centered view of the world, they say, that is chauvinistic and jingoistic in nature.

Participating in the morning panel discussion will be Claes Ryn of the Catholic University of America, Joseph Boyle of the University of Toronto and Bill Cavanaugh of St. Thomas.

Participating in the afternoon panel will be Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School, Paolo Carozza of Notre Dame Law School, John Harrison of the University of Virginia School of Law and Philip Bobbitt of the University of Texas School of Law.

Additional remarks will be given by Robert Merry, publisher and president of the Congressional Quarterly and author of a new book, Sands of Empire, and Mark Rotenberg, general counsel at the University of Minnesota.