Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs
The Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs at the Western New England University School of Law was established in 2000 to offer students the opportunity to participate in activities relating to the legislative process. Recently, traditional law areas, such as contract, property, and tort, have evolved to include underpinnings of statutory law, and criminal law is completely statutory.
Through participation in the Institute, students engage in the practical application of law by assisting public officials in drafting legislation, exploring the codification and progressive development of laws, and examining recently enacted bills. This allows them to experience an area of law that has become indispensable to most practicing lawyers.
Students gain further exposure through the Institute's course offerings (including Legislation and Administrative law), independent studies, internships, and externships, which provide a thorough understanding in how to interpret and draft statutes as well as in the intricacies of the legislative process.
Additional events offered at the Institute, such as seminars, workshops, and legislative hearings, are open to alumni and the general public. The Institute is a great resource for alumni, state and local officials, and practicing attorneys who are interested in a variety of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs offered both in conjuction with the state bar associations and independently of them.
All events are free and open to the public.
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
Friday, September 16, 2016, 12:00 Noon - Blake Law Center Common - Guest Speaker: Professor Sudha Setty
Join us for a commemoration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Professor Setty will speak on "U.S. Constitutionalism in a Global Context." The United States Constitution is arguably the most influential U.S. document in our nation’s history. Its purpose was and is to set forth a framework of government based on a separation of powers, enumerate some rights that are deemed to be fundamental, and articulate a model of government that aspires toward the rule of law. It is also one of the oldest constitutions in the world that is still in use. To what extent has the U.S. Constitution influenced other nations’ constitutions? Many nations in Central and South America adopted the same model as the U.S. government and have many other provisions that are found in the U.S. Constitution. Most other nations, however, have chosen different models of government and different approaches to articulating fundamental rights. Nonetheless, the basic principles undergirding the U.S. Constitution—the separation of powers, enumerated rights, and adherence to the rule of law—can be found in almost every constitution on the planet. In this talk, Professor Sudha Setty will explore the ways in which constitutions have influenced each other, particularly focusing on how and why there are such great differences between the U.S. Constitution and most constitutions drafted since the end of World War II. Professor Setty will also touch upon how constitutional law from other nations has influenced the way in which the U.S. Constitution is interpreted by U.S. courts. This event is free and open to the general public.
21st Annual Supreme Court Review Conference
Saturday, September 24, 2016, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Blake Law Center, Moot Courtroom (Simulcast in the Law Common)
1-day program as part of Homecoming/Alumni Weekend September 23-25. This event is free and open to the general public.
Friday, October 28, 2016, 12:15 p.m. - Blake Law Center, Moot Courtroom and simulcast in the Law Common
U.S. District Judge, Mark G. Mastroianni presiding. This special ceremony conducted by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official will welcome new citizens and their families. All are welcome!
Descriptions of our past events can be viewed below.
Constitution/Citizenship Day – Naturalization Ceremony (reception to follow in Law Common)
Friday, September 18, 2015, 2:00 p.m. Moot Court Room/Law Common
U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson presided.
State Legislature Joint Judiciary Committee Hearing
Monday, September 28, 2015, 1:00 p.m. Moot Court Room
The joint committee, composed of members of both the House and the Senate of the Massachusetts Legislature, held a hearing on several pending bills, with a focus on human trafficking and the protection of international human rights. Video of Hearing
20th Annual Supreme Court Review Conference
Saturday, October 3, 2015, 10:30 a.m.
Featured Speakers: Professors Leora Harpaz, Jennifer Levi, Bruce Miller, and Art Wolf
Moderator: Art Wolf
Four professors participated in the Supreme Court Review Conference. Professor Leora Harpaz addressed the Supreme Court’s use of the “government speech” doctrine to permit the State of Texas to reject a specialty license plate that included a Confederate battle flag. Professor Jennifer Levi discussed the Court’s recent decision declaring unconstitutional state bans on same-sex marriage. Professor Bruce Miller examined the Court’s latest decision regarding the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”). Professor Art Wolf then joined Professor Miller in discussing an important decision regarding the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Video of Conference
19th Annual Supreme Court Review Conference
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. Law Common
Featured Speakers: Leora Harpaz, Jennifer Levi and Bruce Miller
Moderator: Art Wolf
The speakers focused on decisions involving freedom of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, affirmative action for racial minorities, and same gender marriage.
Friday, October 24, 2014, 2:30 p.m. Moot Court Room/Law Common
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Mastroianni presided.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Moot Court Room/Law Common
1st Hampden and Hampshire Senatorial District
Candidates: Debra Boronski and Eric Lesser
The event was streamed live via Ludlow Public Access TV. Following the debate, there was a reception in the Law Common with the candidates.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Legislative Hearing: Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies
Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 11:00 a.m., Moot Court Room
Each year, the Institute has the privilege of hosting public hearings of committees of the State Legislature. These hearings make it possible for residents of western Massachusetts to voice their opinions without having to travel to Boston. This year we are honored to present the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, with Senate Chair Gale Candaras and House Chair Joe Wagner of Chicopee.
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
September 16, 2013, 12:00 noon, Law School Common
Professor Jennifer Levi was the keynote speaker.
18th Annual Supreme Court Review Conference
October 4, 2013, 11:30 a.m., room A
The 2012-13 Supreme Court decisions included marriage equality, voting rights, voter registration, affirmative action, international human rights, privacy, patents, and employment discrimination. The presentation featured professors Leora Harpaz, Art Leaven, Bruce Miller, Giovanna Shay, and Art Wolf.
In the media
View presentations below.
Appearance on WGBY Connecting Point discussing appointment of new supreme court justice
WNEU School of Law Professor and Constitutional expert Arthur Wolf discusses the controversy surrounding the appointment of a new Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, filling the vacancy created by the sudden death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Click here to view presentation.
Perspectives Articles about Institute events can be viewed by clicking on dates below.