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The federal courts, and particularly the Supreme Court, usually reliable institutions embodying the nation’s commitment to the rule of law, have come to the foreground of our polarized political environment. The increasingly vicious tone of battles over judicial nominations is a symptom of deeper dysfunctions in the structure of the American government. Our two speakers see a common thread running through problems regarding judicial appointments, anti-democratic gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the conduct of the decennial census. That common thread is our national inability to maintain strong institutions and processes that serve as a buffer against destructive partisanship. These issues existed long before Donald Trump’s Presidency. Our speakers will discuss judicial appointment and tenure, drawing on international and state-level comparisons, the drawing of electoral boundaries, the controversy surrounding the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, threats to the independence of the FBI and the Department of Justice, the importance of the civil service system, and the Speaker’s dominance of the House of Representatives. Meet our experts Professors Perry Dane and Bernard Bell for a dynamic evening.