The Program in Public Law promotes better understanding of our nation’s public institutions, of the Constitutional framework in which they function, and of the principles and laws that apply to the work of public officials. Within the Duke Law School, the Program sponsors conferences, workshops and informal brown bag lunches on topical public law issues, sponsors visits by present or past elected officials and public lawyers, and raises the visibility of public lawyering as an option for law students to pursue at some time in their careers. To reach a broader audience, the Program supports, encourages and disseminates public law scholarship and commentary by Duke faculty and others. The various features of the Program’s web page are designed to assist lawyers, legal academics, college and high school students and the general public in gaining a better understanding of public law and public institutions. The Program in Public Law is supported generously by Rick Horvitz, Duke Law ’78.
Rick Horvitz ’78 has underwritten the Program in Public Law since 1998, and credits his late wife Marcy for urging him to fund the Program. Horvitz is convinced that a top-rated law school ought to have an outstanding constitutional law program. He cites his constitutional law class with William Van Alstyne as inspiring his fascination with the subject: “When I was in law school, constitutional law was the most elevating of all the areas of law–I felt it was the ‘crown jewel’ of my legal education.” Horvitz has also helped to endow a professorship in constitutional law, and started the Fund for Faculty Excellence at Duke Law.