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The 2023 Randolph W. Thrower Symposium

The Future of America’s Efforts to Promote the Rule of Law Abroad

Thursday, February 2, 2023
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
In Person: Emory University School of Law
Virtual: Zoom link provided upon registration 

Click here to register.

Hosted annually by the Emory Law Journal since 1995, the Thrower Symposium honors the life and legacy of Mr. Randolph W. Thrower (1913–2014). The 2023 Thrower Symposium will explore The Future of America’s Efforts to Promote the Rule of Law Abroad. Though the rule of law is perennially a critical subject, recent challenges have brought it to the forefront once again. Not only have threats to the rule of law blossomed abroad, as shown by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s oppression of its political and ethnic minorities, but such threats have also festered at home, as shown by the attacks on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. In light of these challenges, the 2023 Thrower Symposium will be a chance to rejuvenate dialogue on urgent rule-of-law questions. 

Attorneys attending the keynote and all three panels in person, can receive 5.5 CLE credits. The symposium will take place at Emory University School of Law, with the schedule as follows.  

Check-In and Breakfast: 8 - 8:50 a.m. 

Opening Remarks: 9 - 9:15 a.m. 

Keynote Address: 9:15 - 10:15 a.m. 

Break: 10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Panel I. Contemporary Threats to the Rule of Law, 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. 
This panel will explore threats to the rule of law, whether from authoritarian rulers (e.g., in China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran) or populist leaders (e.g., in Poland, Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela).  

  • David Carroll, Director of the Democracy Program at The Carter Center 
  • Monika Nalepa, Professor of Political Science & Director of the Transitional Justice and Democratic Stability Lab, at The University of Chicago  
  • Martin Flaherty, Leitner Family Professor of Law & Founding Co-Director of the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, at Fordham University School of Law 
  • Moderator: Magdalena Tulibacka, Faculty Lecturer, Emory University School of Law   

Lunch: 12 - 1 p.m. 

Panel II. Defining the Rule of Law, 1 - 2:30 p.m.   
This panel will discuss competing conceptions of the rule of law, from thinner conceptions that may focus primarily on a law’s form, to thicker conceptions that also consider its substance and factors such as electoral accountability, judicial independence, and human rights.  

  • Mila Versteeg, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law & Director of the Human Rights Program, at University of Virginia School of Law  
  • Brian Tamanaha, John S. Lehmann University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law  
  • Paul Gowder, Professor of Law & Associate Dean of Research and Intellectual Life, at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law  
  • Moderator: Hallie Ludsin, Faculty Lecturer & Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, at Emory University School of Law   

Break: 2:30 - 2:45 p.m. 

Panel III. Advancing the Rule of Law, 2:45 - 4:15 p.m. 
This panel will discuss concrete steps that Americans and America’s state and non-state institutions can take to advance the rule of law abroad, in light of recent global and domestic developments.  

  • William Ide, Of Counsel at Akerman LLP & former President of the American Bar Association 
  • Mary Dudziak, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law 
  • Jon Smibert, Adjunct Professor at Emory University School of Law & former Resident Legal Advisor at the United States Department of Justice
  • Moderator: Hillary Forden, Senior Associate Director of the Rule of Law Program at The Carter Center

Concluding Remarks: 4:15 - 4:30 p.m. 

Reception: 4:30 - 6 p.m. 

Past Symposia