(Feb. 16 – NORMAN, OKLA.) Supreme Court Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Louis D. Brandeis may have served on our nation’s highest court a century ago, but their decisions continue to define our laws today.
“The Supreme Court: The Legacy of Holmes and Brandeis” is the topic of this year’s Feaver-MacMinn Seminar, hosted by the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies. The public lecture will be Feb. 23 in the Thurman J. White Forum on the OU campus. A book signing will be held at 6:30 p.m., and the lecture will begin at 7 p.m.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be led by Virginia Commonwealth University professor Melvin Urofsky, who has written widely on constitutional history. For the past 17 years, he has been the editor of the Journal of Supreme Court History.
“As Dr. Urofsky’s work demonstrates, the court’s docket shifted dramatically during Holmes’ and Brandeis’ tenure, moving from a concentration on protecting property to a newfound emphasis on individual liberties,” said Martha Banz, associate dean of the OU College of Liberal Studies. “The opinions of Holmes and Brandeis are key to understanding this transformation. In their dissents, they helped pave the way to our modern beliefs in free speech, privacy and the protection of minorities.”
Urofsky has taught at VCU since 1974. He has authored or edited more than 50 books, many of which focus on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution. He is professor of law and public policy and professor emeritus of history. From 1995 until his semi-retirement in 2003, he served as the director of the doctoral program in Public Policy and Administration. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University, and he earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia.
For the book signing, Urofsky will be signing copies of his book, A March of Liberty Volume 2, which may be purchased at the event.
The annual Feaver-MacMinn Seminar was created to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on human values in disciplines such as humanistic psychology, philosophy and ethics, and to allow students to grow intellectually while exploring these fields. The seminar is named for two former OU faculty members who exemplified excellence in teaching: J. Clayton Feaver, distinguished David Ross Boyd professor of philosophy; and Paul MacMinn, professor of psychology, Honors College, and dean of students.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.