Clint Bolick, Laura Underkuffler debate school vouchers

Main Content

Clint Bolick, founder of the Institute for Justice — a libertarian public interest law firm based in Washington, D.C. — will discuss and debate pros and cons of school vouchers with Duke Law Professor Laura Underkuffler on March 5, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 3037. The event is sponsored by the Duke Law Federalist Society.

For the past 12 years, Bolick has led the nationwide effort to defend school voucher programs, with victories in the Wisconsin, Ohio, and Arizona Supreme Courts and culminating in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris in the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Bolick is one of the subjects profiled in Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Crusade by Nina Easton, who says Bolick “confounds his liberal critics because he is something that is not supposed to exist on the right: an idealist.”

Underkuffler has addressed the issue of vouchers in academic publications in the United States and abroad, and maintains that the public funding of sectarian schools violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and, in fact, undermines the cause of religious freedom. Both participants will discuss their views on the legal and policy aspects of this debate.

Duke Law Federalist Society President C. Bryan Wilson said, “I think this will be an exceptional event for the Law School community because it will present both sides of a current, controversial legal debate. The discussion will meet The Federalist Society’s goal of exposing Law students to the full range of ideas in the marketplace as well as the Law School’s goal of encouraging critical thinking and intellectual discourse.”