Thursday, October 15, 2020
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified 100 years ago in 1920. The text of the amendment prohibited denying the right to vote “on account of sex.” With the amendment, the voting population of the United States effectively doubled. But was the 19th Amendment about more than the right to vote? What other changes in the constitutional order did the 19th Amendment bring about? How does the 19th Amendment relate to gender equality? How did it relate to civil liberties more generally? Did the 19th Amendment change how we think of politics and the public sphere? In conversation with CMC's Diana Selig, Elizabeth Beaumont PO '93 and Elizabeth Wydra '98, will look back over the 100 years since its ratification and reflect on how we should think about gender equality in American democracy.
Elizabeth Wydra ’98 is president of the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC). From 2008-2016, she served as CAC’s chief counsel. Throughout her tenure she has filed more than 200 briefs on behalf of CAC and clients, which include preeminent constitutional scholars and historians, state and local government organizations, groups such as the League of Women Voters and the AARP, and members of Congress.
Wydra has also argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals on a range of issues, including immigration law, habeas corpus, and sovereign immunity. She joined CAC from private practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in San Francisco, where she was an attorney working with former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan in the firm’s Supreme Court/appellate practice. Previously, Wydra was a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center appellate litigation clinic, a law clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and a lawyer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a law firm in Washington.
Wydra has appeared as a legal expert on multiple television and radio stations and has been frequently quoted in the print media. Her writings have also appeared in many print and online outlets and on numerous political and legal blogs, such as Huffington Post, SCOTUSblog, and ACSblog. She has also published in the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Syracuse Law Review, The Cato Institute’s Supreme Court Review, and the Yale Journal of International Law.
Wyrda received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.
Elizabeth Beaumont PO '93 is an associate professor of politics and director of Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on constitutionalism and democracy, as well as civic engagement and education. She is particularly interested in problems of unequal citizenship, the relation between citizenship, democracy, and education, and how civic actors seek to shape rights, law, and political power and policy. Beaumont teaches and advises students in the areas of public law and legal studies, political theory, and American political and constitutional development.
Her book, “The Civic Constitution: Civic Visions and Struggles in the Path Toward Constitutional Democracy” (Oxford University Press, 2014), focuses on the role of several major civic groups and social movements in shaping American constitutional creation and change. She examines groups such as 18th century revolutionaries, anti-Federalists, abolitionists, and woman suffragists as "civic founders" who profoundly influenced the Constitution's text, allocations of power, definitions of citizenship, and the meanings of rights. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications, including The Journal of Politics, Political Theory, Perspectives on Politics, the Stanford Law Review, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center.
From 2000-2005, Beaumont was a research scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she helped lead the foundation's work on civic education and engagement, including serving as co-principal investigator and director of the national Political Engagement Project. These interdisciplinary, multi-method research projects are the basis of two co-authored books: “Educating for Democracy” (Wiley 2007) and “Educating Citizens” (Jossey-Bass 2003). The books are resource texts for the American Democracy Project, an AASCU partnership including more than 240 state college campuses, and helped inform the national report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012). Her current research project is titled: Unruly Citizens and the Rule of Law: Civic Dissent, Disobedience, and Protest.
Beaumont is a graduate of Pomona College; she earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Diana Selig, Kingsley Croul Professor of History and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, will moderate the conversation.
Ms. Wydra and Professor Beaumont’s Athenaeum conversation is sponsored by the Salvatori Center’s Lofgren Program in American Constitutionalism.