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Constitutional Law Expert Prof. Sanford Levinson Delivers 2011 McGlinchey Lecture

February 20, 2011

Levinson McGlinchey Lecturer

PROFESSOR SANFORD LEVINSON , W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr., Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School, on Thursday (Feb. 17) delivered the 2011 Dermot S. McGlinchey Lecture on Federal Litigation . Addressing “The Tension Between Independence and Accountability in State and Federal Courts,” Prof. Levinson entertained Tulane law students, faculty and staff, along with members of the community, in room 110 of Weinmann Hall.


Prior to Levinson’s talk, Dean David Meyer recognized and thanked a handful of guests, including those members present from the law firm of McGlinchey Stafford*, through which the lecture is sponsored and permanently endowed; the Hon. Martin L.C. Feldman (L '57), U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana; and particularly, Fionuala McGlinchey Monsted (N '90), daughter of the late Dermot S. McGlinchey, for whom the lecture is named. Unable to attend the evening affair but equally acknowledged were McGlinchey’s wife, Ellen Murphy McGlinchey, and daughter, Deirdre McGlinchey Moffett, a 1995 graduate of Tulane Law School.


Former Interim Dean and Professor of Law Stephen Griffin introduced and subsequently welcomed Prof. Levinson, the 16th distinguished individual to deliver the McGlinchey Lecture since its establishment in 1996. A reception in the Multipurpose Room followed Prof. Levinson’s lecture.  


Click here  to download the 2011 Dermot S. McGlinchey Lecture program.


* The Dermot S. McGlinchey Lecture on Federal Litigation is permanently endowed and sponsored by the law firm of McGlinchey Stafford, through the firm’s charitable foundation. The firm, founded by Dermot S. McGlinchey and others in 1974, currently has more than 190 attorneys.  McGlinchey Stafford has nine offices in six states—Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, New York, and Florida—and can be found on the web at  mcglinchey.com . The firm has 45 specialty groups, enabling its attorneys to acquire a depth of industry-specific knowledge to better provide personal service to clients by understanding their business needs and desires. The firm’s express goal is “to provide quality legal service to our clients on a prompt and responsive, cost-efficient basis.”


Dermot S. McGlinchey, a leading lawyer of his generation, as well as a civic activist and ardent supporter of Tulane Law School, died at the age of 60 on November 27, 1993.  Born in New York City, he received his undergraduate (A&S '54) and law (L '57) degrees from Tulane and remained active in the Tulane community throughout his life.  He was president of the Tulane Alumni Association in 1992-93.  He served the law school as a member of the Dean’s Council, chairman of the Dean’s Council Development Committee, vice chairman of the endowment program of the Maritime Law Center and chairman of the Law School’s Building Fund.  “Dermot was a person who flew with eagles, but he always cared about the sparrows in our society,” said friend and Federal District Judge Eldon Fallon (L '63).


Mr. McGlinchey devoted much of his adult life to promoting equal access to the courts.  In 1986, he led the effort to revitalize the Louisiana Bar Foundation and was instrumental in forming the foundation’s Pro Bono Project. “He took on the challenge and turned ideas into reality,” said Fallon, who was then president of the Louisiana Bar Association.   “He did it through his compassion and his ability to bring people together and organize and implement programs and projects.”


“Dermot knew the law, and he knew how to get things done,” said C. G. Norwood, Jr., former managing member of McGlinchey Stafford.  “Dermot was a valued mentor to dozens of young lawyers, myself included. One of the most valuable lessons he taught was that without effective application to the solution of real problems, the law itself is sterile.”


Noted for his expertise in the area of insurance law, Mr. McGlinchey balanced his 35-year legal career with substantial commitments to professional, civic and charitable endeavors.  He was a member of the board of directors of the World Trade Center and the New Orleans Opera Association.  He also served as secretary to the board of directors of the Irish American Cultural Institute.  Mr. McGlinchey received the Louisiana Bar Association’s Distinguished Lawyer award in 1991.  He was appointed Ireland’s Honorary Consul in Louisiana in 1992, and was, in 1993, named Irishman of the Year by the Ancient Order of Hibernians.


He is survived by his wife, Ellen Murphy McGlinchey, and two daughters, Fionuala McGlinchey Monsted (N '90) and Deirdre McGlinchey Moffett (L '95).



Sanford Levinson, who holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, joined the University of Texas Law School in 1980. Previously a member of the Department of Politics at Princeton University, he is also a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas. The author of over 250 articles and book reviews in professional and popular journals, Levinson is also the author of four books: Constitutional Faith (1988, winner of the Scribes Award); Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies (1998); Wrestling With Diversity (2003); and, most recently, Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It) (2006). His edited or coedited books include a leading constitutional law casebook, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (5th ed. 2006, with Paul Brest, Jack Balkin, Akhil Amar, and Reva Siegel); Reading Law and Literature: A Hermeneutic Reader (1988, with Steven Mallioux); Responding to Imperfection: The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Amendment (1995); Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies (1998, with William Eskridge); Legal Canons (2000, with Jack Balkin); The Louisiana Purchase and American Expansion (2005, with Batholomew Sparrow); and Torture: A Collection (2004, revised paperback edition, 2006), which includes reflections on the morality, law, and politics of torture from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.


He has taught a course on “Torture, Law, and Lawyers” at the Harvard Law School. He is also a regular participant on the popular blog, Balkinization. He has visited at the Boston University, Georgetown, Harvard, New York University, and Yale law schools, as well as the law faculties at the University of Paris II, Central European University in Budapest, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is also affiliated with the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish Philosophy in Jerusalem. A member of the American Law Institute, Levinson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001. He was recently given the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Law and Courts section of the American Political Science Association, an unusual recognition for a law professor.

Mcglinchey Levinson

(L to R) Dean David Meyer, Fionuala McGlinchey Monsted (N '90), Prof. Sanford Levinson, and Prof. Stephen Griffin

      Professors at Mcglinchey 

Tulane Law School Professor Robert Force (center) further exlains one of Levinson's remarks to his colleague, Professor Ronald Scalise.
Sitting amongst the two are (from L to R) Tulane Professors of Law Adeno Addis, Martin Davies and Adam Babich.


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