Government & Law

View of the United States Capitol Building in DC

As the Presidential Inauguration approaches on Jan. 20, and the U.S. government recovers from the attack on the Capitol, we asked CMC professors to reflect on Trump’s legacy, the opportunities for the Biden White House now that the Democrats control Congress, and how the country might move forward as the power structure in Washington D.C. transitions from the Trump to the Biden administration.

View of the United States Capitol Building in DC
Henry Schulz ’22, pictured near the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial along the Tidal Basin

During this past election year, Henry Schulz ’22 felt like he had a front row seat to history. 

With his semester in CMC’s Washington program completed, Schulz was packing up his D.C. apartment, and reflecting on the many memorable moments from fall 2020, culminating in the post-election celebrations in the streets just below his apartment. 

Election 2020 Ballot Box illustration

Four government and politics professors came together for a virtual Athenaeum panel to preview the 2020 election and offer a guide to interpreting the early results of the presidential, as well as other key elections across the U.S.

CMC Professors Zachary Courser '99, Jack Pitney, and Andrew Sinclair ’08 were joined by Sara Sadhwani, professor of politics at Pomona College in a Zoom-based discussion on Nov. 2, introduced by Ath Fellow Chris Agard ’21. The panel was sponsored by the Salvatori Center at CMC.

Rose Institute Video Voter Series 2020 logo

Just in time for election season, as California voters pore over their voting materials, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College has released a nonpartisan resource to help them understand the complicated propositions on the November ballot.

In brief videos close captioned in English and Spanish, students at the Rose Institute analyze each of the 12 propositions, providing useful background material in a digestible format.

Professor George Thomas (bottom-left) moderates Ath talk with guests Ahkil Amar (top-right) and Steven Calabresi (bottom-right)

What brings together two prominent Constitutional scholars from opposite sides of the political spectrum?

For Akhil Amar and Steven Calabresi, it’s the jurisprudential theory, originalism. The two found common ground during their recent virtual Athenaeum discussion, sponsored by the Salvatori Center’s Lofgren Program in American Constitutionalism. Moderated by CMC Professor George Thomas, the discussion centered on answering the question, “Should We Interpret the Constitution Based on its Original Meaning?”


Every 10 years, CMC’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government hosts a conference that coincides with the U.S. Censusoffering valued expertise to government professionals grappling with how to manage the redistricting process, as well as new laws and regulations.

In the modern era of redistricting, all district lines must be reviewed after the Census to meet strict requirements for population equality and voting rights protections.

Zachary Courser, Eric Helland, and Kenneth Miller

In April of 2016, CMC professors Zachary Courser, Eric Helland, and Kenneth Miller convened for a Dreier Roundtable Conference at Montpelier, the Virginia residence of James and Dolley Madison. The trio had already organized a conference at CMC earlier in the fall on political polarization and the Constitution. But being at Madison’s home made their mission clearer.

George Will

Two days after the elections, George Will could have spent an hour talking about the midterms and President Donald Trump.

Instead, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist explained that everything you need to know about American political philosophy is an argument between two former Presidents and Princeton alumni (also Will’s alma mater), James Madison and Woodrow Wilson.

Will called Madison’s belief in the doctrine of natural rights the basis of our Constitution. Human nature is fixed, so government should inherently be limited, he said.

Minxin Pei

Minxin Pei, the Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, has been named the inaugural Library of Congress Chair in U.S.-China Relations.

Pei will begin an eight-month residency at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress beginning in January, 2019. As the first U.S.-China chair, Pei will foster policy-relevant research, programming, and bipartisan legislative discussion on U.S. relations with China, with a focus on public policy challenges likely to face legislators in the future.