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Skidmore College
Political Science Department

Fiscus Lecture

The Fiscus Lecture was inaugurated in 1991 by Skidmore's Department of Government (Political Science Department, as of June 2016) to honor the late Ronald J. Fiscus, a Skidmore faculty member from 1980 to his death in 1990. Professor Fiscus was a constitutional law specialist and a key contributor to the development of a minor in law and society at Skidmore.

RONALD J. FISCUS, a teacher and scholar of constitutional law, was a member of the Skidmore Government Department from 1980 until his untimely death at age 42 in 1990. After graduating from Carleton College, Ron served in the Peace Corps in Chad before completing a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Wisconsin. At Skidmore, Professor Fiscus was well known for the excellence of his teaching. He was one of the original faculty members involved in creating Liberal Studies I, served as its coordinator the first year it was taught, and was selected by his colleagues to give the very first lecture in the course. Ron was also instrumental in developing and establishing Skidmore's law and society minor, which involves students in a multidisciplinary study of the relationship between law and other social institutions and processes. After Ron's death, his colleagues and friends endowed an annual lecture in his honor, the Ronald J. Fiscus Memorial Lecture, to bring to campus distinguished individuals who would speak on issues related to law and society.

Past Fiscus Lecturers

ERWIN CHEMERINSKY, Dean, University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Free Speech on Campus 2024

CHARLES OGLETREE, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. "Do Black Lives Matter? Race and Justice in America Now!" 2015

JEFFREY ROSEN, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center. The Future of Privacy and Free Speech: Translating the Constitution in the Age of Google Glass and Wikileaks. 2013

BERNADETTE A. MEYLER, Professor of Law and English, Cornell, University. Common Law Originalism: Constitutional Meaning from Transatlantic Legal Contexts. 2011

JOANNE B. FREEMAN, Professor of History, Yale University. The Field of Blood: Congressional Violence in Antebellum America. 2009

ROGERS M. SMITH, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Barack Obama and the Future of American Racial Politics. 2008

GARY JACOBSOHN, Patterson-Banister Professor of Government and H. Malcolm Professor in Constitutional and Comparative Law, University of Texas at Austin. The Disharmonic Constitution. 2007

AKHIL REED AMAR, Southmayd Professor of Law, Yale Law School. America’s Constitution Over the Centuries ~ As Seen from New York. 2006

LINDA GREENHOUSE, Correspondent, Washington Bureau, New York Times. Court, Country, and Culture. 2005

JAMES F. SIMON, Martin Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, New York Law School.  All the Laws But One: President Lincoln, Chief Justice Taney, and the Merryman Case. 2004

JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago. American Power and Responsibility in a Violent World. 2002

THOMAS L. PANGLE, University Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto. Should Convicted Criminals Have the Right to Vote? Exploring the Meaning of Voting Rights and Responsibilities. 2001

MARK SILVERSTEIN, Professor of Political Science, Boston University. The Real Warren Court Revolution. 2000

JUDITH RESNIK, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School.  Identity Politics and Professional Identity: The Effects of Gender, Race, and Ethnicity on the Justice System. 1999

SANFORD LEVINSON, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Regents Chair in Law and Government, The University of Texas at Austin.  Diversity. 1998

MORRIS DEES, Director, Southern Poverty Law Center. A Passion for Justice. 1997

STANLEY FISH, Professor of Law and Literature, Duke University.  Boutique Multiculturalism: Or Why Liberals are Incapable of Talking About Hate Speech. 1996

CHRISTINE HARRINGTON, Professor and Director of the Institute for Law and Society, New York University. The Politics of Feminism and the Practice of Law. 1995

DAVID ADAMANY, President and Professor of Political Science, Wayne State University. The Constitutional Rights of Homosexuals. 1994

STEPHEN WASBY, Professor of Political Science, State University of New York at Albany. The Difficult Quest for Equality. 1993

JOEL B. GROSSMAN, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University. The New Politics of Nominating and Confirming Supreme Court Justices. 1992

WALTER MURPHY, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University. The Art of Constitutional Interpretation. 1991