2024 Robert W. Kastenmeier Lecture

"American Democracy and the Rule of Law in Peril”

Join us for the 2024 Robert W. Kastenmeier Lecture featuring Judge J. Michael Luttig. This year’s lecture, "American Democracy and the Rule of Law in Peril,” takes place at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in person and virtually.

4 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2024

H.F. Deluca Forum, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
330 N. Orchard St.
Madison, WI 53706


Featured Speaker

Photo of J. Michael LuttigSpeaker Information

J. Michael Luttig served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for 15 years, from 1991 to 2006. He is currently counselor and special advisor to the Coca-Cola Company and its board of directors. Prior to joining the Coca-Cola Company, Judge Luttig was counselor and senior advisor to the Boeing Company CEO and board of directors. He was executive vice president and general counsel of Boeing from 2006 to 2020. Before he was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush, he served as assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice and counselor to the attorney general of the United States. He was assistant counsel to the president at the White House from 1981 to 1982 under President Ronald Reagan. From 1982 to 1983, he was a law clerk to then-Judge Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. From 1983 to 1985, he served as a law clerk and then special assistant to the chief justice of the United States. Judge Luttig earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington and Lee University and his law degree from the University of Virginia.


Charlie Sykes
Charlie Sykes

Charlie Sykes is a Wisconsin political commentator and an NBC/MSNBC contributor. He is the founder and former editor-at-large of “The Bulwark,” and former host of “The Bulwark Podcast.”

He is also author of nine books, including “A Nation of Victims,” “Dumbing Down Our Kids,” “Profscam,” “The Hollow Men,” “The End of Privacy,” “50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School,”  “A Nation of Moochers” and “Fail U. The False Promise of Higher Education.” He was co-editor of the National Review College Guide.

His most recent book, “How the Right Lost Its Mind,” published by St. Martin’s Press, was released in October 2017. An updated paperback edition was released in October 2018.

Sykes has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time.com, USA Today, National Review, The New York Review of Books, the New York Daily News and other national publications.

Until he stepped down in December 2016 after 23 years, Sykes was one of Wisconsin’s top-rated and most influential conservative talk show hosts. In 2017, he was co-host of the national public radio show, “Indivisible,” which originated from WNYC.

About the Kastenmeier Lecture

Robert KastenmeierThis lecture is supported by the fund established to honor Robert W. Kastenmeier, an outstanding graduate of University of Wisconsin Law School, who served with great distinction in the United States Congress from 1958 to 1990. During his tenure, Congressman Kastenmeier made special contributions to the improvement of the judiciary and to the field of intellectual property law. He drafted the rules for the House Committee on the Judiciary that were used for the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon, as well as the articles of impeachment against Judge Harry Claiborne. In 1985, Congressman Kastenmeier received the Warren E. Burger Award, presented by the Institute for Court Management, and the Service Award of the National Center for State Courts. In 1988, American Judicature Society honored him with its Justice Award for his contributions to improving the administration of justice.

The Kastenmeier Fund was created to recognize these contributions by fostering important legal scholarship in the fields of intellectual property, corrections, administration of justice, and civil liberties. It is a fitting tribute to the leadership of Robert W. Kastenmeier in these areas.

View a complete list of Kastenmeier lectures

2022 Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney, "A Conversation with Larry Krasner"
2021 Daniel P. Dinapoli, Andrei Iancu, Lisa Larrimore Ouelette, "Patents and the Public Interest in Pandemic Vaccine Policy," moderated by BJ Ard
2019 Vanita Gupta, “The Federal Government and Local Policing: A Conversation with Vanita Gupta”
2018 Shirley S. Abrahamson, “A Conversation with Justice Shirley Abrahamson”
2017 Maria A. Pallante, "I am the Captain Now: Resisting Piracy and Contortion in the Copyright Marketplace"
2016 Sonia Sotomayor, "A Discussion with Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court of the United States"
2015 James Sensenbrenner, "A History of the USA FREEDOM Act"
2014 Bryan Stevenson, "Just Mercy: Confronting Mass Incarceration and Excessive Punishment in America"
2013 John Dean, "Crossing the Line: Watergate, the Criminal Law and Ethics"
2012 Mark A. Lemley, "Software Patents and the Return of  Functional Claiming"
2011 Barbara Crabb, "Bridging the Divide between Congress and the Courts"
2010 Bob Herbert, "Afghanistan: What Are We Fighting For?"
2009 Walter Dickey, Cecelia Klingele and Michael Scott, "Re-Imagining Criminal Justice:  Implications for Practice, Research and Teaching"
2008 David Obey, "Economic Injustice"
2007 Harold Hongju Koh, Tom Petri, and Russ Feingold, "The National Security Constitution in a Time of Terror"
2006 Carl Gulbrandsen (with remarks from Birch Bayh), "The Law in Action: What the Bayh-Dole Act Means to the University of Wisconsin and the State of Wisconsin and an Effective National Science Policy"
2005 George McGovern, "The Iraq War: Lessons from the Past"
2004 Frank Tuerkheimer, "Civil Rights Act of 1964: Hopes and Promises"
Roger Wilkins, "Bob Kastenmeier and 1960s Civil Rights Legislation: Leadership Through Commitment and Foresight"
2003 Lawrence Lessig, "The Forgotten Balance of Robert Kastenmeier"
2002 Anthony Lewis, "Civil Liberties in a Time of Terror"
2001 Douglas Berman, Michael Smith, John Steer, and moderator Thomas W. Hutchison, "Sentencing Criminals: After a Quarter Century of Reform, Where Are We?"
2000 Martin Abrams, Deirdre Mulligan, Paul Schwartz, and moderator Robert Gellman, "From the Bill of Rights to the Internet: Protecting Privacy Rights and Interests in the New Millennium"
1999 Robert Drinan, Michael Gerhardt, Stanley Kutler, Frank Tuerkheimer, and moderator David Broder, "From Watergate to the Present: Impeachment, Presidential Accountability, and the Separation of Powers"
1997 Paul Goldstein, "The Transformation of American Copyright Law"
1996 Abner J. Mikva, "Political Extremism: Is It New, Is It Worse, Is It Curable?"
1995 Symposium: "Is Effective Crime Policy Possible?"
1993 Symposium: "Computer Software Protection: Reinventing Intellectual Property"
1992 William H. Rehnquist, "Seen in a Glass Darkly: The Future of the Federal Court"

Digital Repository

Check out the UW Law School Digital Repository for more about past Kastenmeier Lectures »

Lock Icon