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What to do about the Courts: Toolkit session II with Ryan Doerfler

May 28, 2024



Time of Event:

Tuesday 8pm ET / 5pm PT

The fifth session of our 6-part open course/reading group “What To Do About The Courts,” cohosted with the People’s Parity Project, will take place on May 28th at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. This session will be led by Professor Ryan Doerfler.

TOPIC: Several reforms have been proposed to restructure, reform, and/or disempower the courts, each with different stakes and addressing different problems with the Supreme Court as it is today. In this second of two sessions addressing specific proposals, we will examine

FACULTY: Ryan Doerfler is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. His research focuses on the role of the judiciary within a democratic system. His recent work includes a critical reassessment of the embrace of judicial review within the liberal legal tradition and an analysis of the relationship between theories of statutory and constitutional interpretation and a fundamental commitment to democratic self-rule. Ryan’s academic work has been published in numerous leading law journals. His popular writing has appeared in the AtlanticDissentJacobin, the Nation, the New Republic, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

READINGS: The reading for this session is a set of excerpts from “Democratizing the Supreme Court” by Professors Doerfler and Sam Moyn. We’ve attached the full article here, in case it’s of interest; however, we recommend that people focus on the following sections:

  • Pp. 2–7 (summary + introduction)
  • [OPTIONAL] pp. 22–50 (discussion of the desirability of disempowering reforms)
  • Pp. 54–56 (legal feasibility of disempowering reforms)
  • Pp. 63–67 (political feasibility of disempowering reforms)
  • Pp. 67–71 (risk of spiraling with disempowering reforms + conclusion)


REGISTRATION: To attend this session and all of the sessions in the “What To Do About the Courts” Series, please register: (If you registered for one of the previous sessions, you do NOT need to register again).