Resurrecting Truth in American Law and Public Discourse CLE

Event Date: 
Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 4:00pm to Friday, November 17, 2017 - 11:45am

Event Location:

Event Audience:

Varies: $90 or Free

Resurrecting Truth in American Law and Public Discourse
Shall These Bones Live?

Join us for a timely continuing legal education program that considers the idea of truth, within law and without, and the depth of the current crisis of truth in American public life. This Duquesne Law symposium offers three CLE ethics credits and frank discussions among scholars and lawyers about the ways in which realism can be persuasively reintroduced into law practice, law school teaching, and political debate.  


From fake news to alternative facts, the American people have lost faith that institutions and leaders tell the truth and have even lost faith in what truth is.  Inconsistent narratives circulate among opposing groups that have little to do with each other, leading to mutual incomprehension, condescension and, sometimes, hatred.  

Productive debate or discussion in matters such as immigration, trade, climate change, and voting rights has become nearly impossible, in part because some participants refuse to accept even the idea of nonpartisan truths. 

American law has felt and fed the impact of academic and political skepticisms of all kinds, both in theory and in practice. Critical legal theory, law and economics, and law and humanities all question the possibility of objective, substantive moral, ethical, and legal judgment.  In constitutional law, approaches as seemingly disparate as legal process theory and the new originalism actually rest on a shared acceptance of the view that values are subjective and therefore are not susceptible to rational debate. 

Ideas from within law and philosophy provide avenues for resurrecting truth, though law’s complicity in the death of truth must be confronted before it can be overcome. Once the debate over truth is engaged in law, we must, in Roberto Unger’s words, “bring it back, transformed, to the larger life of society." 


Symposium Schedule 

4 p.m. Address
  • Prof. Louise Antony, University of Massachusetts Department of Philosophy 
5 p.m. Reception for Program Attendees and Participants 


8 a.m. Registration Opens for Friday
8:20 a.m. Welcome by Prof. Jane Campbell Moriarty
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Panel I 
  • Prof. Bruce Ledewitz, Duquesne University School of Law
  • Prof. Justin Dyer, University of Missouri, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy
  • Prof. Lawrence Solan, Brooklyn Law School
  • Moderator: Prof. Jennifer Bates, Duquesne University Department of Philosophy 
9:30 – 9:50 a.m. Q&A 
9:50 – 10:05 a.m. 15-Minute Break
10:05 – 11:05 a.m. Panel II 
  • Prof. Heidi Li Feldman, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Prof. Alina Ng, Mississippi College School of Law
  • Prof. W. Bradley Wendel, Cornell Law School 
  • Moderator: Prof. Elizabeth Cochran, Duquesne University Department of Theology 
11:05 a.m. – 11:25 a.m. Q&A
11:25  – 11:45 a.m. Plenary Session
  • Moderator: Prof. Wilson Huhn, Duquesne University School of Law


Read bios of the symposium speakers and moderators.  


CLE Credit

The symposium offers three hours of ethics credits on Friday. (No CLE credits available for Thursday.) Attendees interested in pursuing credit in a state that accepts Pennsylvania CLE credits can request Uniform Certificate of Attendance forms.



  • $90 – Three (3) hours of CLE ethics credits.
  • Members of the Duquesne Law Alumni Association receive a $25 discount for this or any other CLE course, fall and spring. Join or renew your membership and watch it pay for itself.
  • Free – Duquesne faculty with or without CLE credit. Registration required.
  • Free – Duquesne graduate and undergraduate students. Registration required. 

Learn about CLE scholarships


Registration and Questions


Register Today


If you have questions about the program, please please contact Communication Director Colleen C. Derda or Professor Bruce Ledewitz


Live Stream

The symposium will be live streamed for free. Distance learning CLE credits are not available for this program.

Thursday Live Stream

Friday Live Stream


Symposium Issue 

A special issue of the Duquesne Law Review in 2018 will feature the symposium proceedings.