Skip to main content
You are here

Election 2016: Hearts, Minds, Constitutional Change Political Science Program and Edward L. Barrett Jr. Lecture

By Dateline Staff on November 1, 2016 in University

In pre-election commentary this week, two UC Davis political science faculty members will talk about the hearts and minds of voters, and a visiting scholar will address constitutional change in connection with presidential politics.

The political scientists, Cheryl Boudreau and Christopher Hare, will speak at a program titled “Election 2016: Polarization, Public Opinion and Policymaking,” from 12:10 to 1 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 2) in the multipurpose room at the Student Community Center.

 Cheryl Boudreau

Boudreau, associate professor and director of graduate studies in her department, will discuss public opinion about the state ballot’s 17 propositions on the state ballot as well as types of information that might influence voters’ decisions. Among issues facing California voters are legalization of marijuana, raising tobacco taxes, abolishing or speeding up the death penalty, new regulations on gun ammunition sales, and upholding or overturning the plastic bag ban.

Boudreau joined the UC faculty in 2007 after earning a Ph.D. at UC San Diego.

 Christopher Hare

Hare, assistant professor, will talk about what 2016 can tell us about polarization in American politics — just how divided are we, and what are the policymaking implications moving forward? He joined the faculty in July 2015 after earning a Ph.D. at the University of Georgia.

The program is part of the Institute for Social Sciences Noon Lecture Series. Brown bag lunches are welcome.

Barrett Lecture on Constitutional Law

On Thursday (Nov. 3), the School of Law presents the annual Edward L. Barrett Jr. Lecture on Constitutional Law, given this year by Cornell Law School Professor Michael C. Dorf. He will speak on “The Presidential Election and Constitutional Change.”

 Edward L. Barrett
 Michael C. Dorf

Barrett, a renowned constitutional scholar and founding dean of the School of Law, died in August at the age of 98 — and his namesake lecture this year will honor his life.

The law school provided this synopsis of Dorf's talk: “With one existing vacancy on an ideologically divided Supreme Court and several justices reaching an age when they might retire in the next few years, the 2016 presidential election will have an obvious impact on constitutional law through the appointments process. But presidential politics — and politics more broadly — affects constitutional understandings by other means, as well. These include constitutional amendments, changes in attitudes revealed and shaped by contentious politics, agenda-setting, and backlash. The unusual candidacy of Donald Trump could make one or the other of the last two mechanisms especially important this year.”

Dorf, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and then for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court. Dorf has written more than 80 scholarly articles and essays on constitutional law and related subjects. His latest book, co-authored with Sherry F. Colb, is Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights.

The lecture will be from 4 to 5 p.m. in the 1001 King Hall (Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom), and a reception will follow. RSVPs are requested.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or