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December 9, 2011

Looking back at Prawsfest! 9

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By Associate Professor Justin Levitt

As mentioned here, together with David Fagundes over at Southwestern, we had the privilege of hosting Prawfsfest! Nine over the last few days. David Horton and I had the privilege of bookending the workshop -- I offered myself as the first victim of the proceedings, and David batted cleanup; given his Prawfsfest preview, I'm eagerly awaiting the formal unveiling of David's piece. It's an impressive holiday gift to the legal academic world.

There are a few signature elements of the Prawfsfest format, beyond the raw opportunity to connect with some outstanding colleagues: papers are limited in length so that everyone can read all of them, everyone actually reads (and is prepared to discuss) all of them, and just about all of the participants are junior faculty, which makes for a particularly accommodating space to discuss ideas in the early stages of incubation. And, true to form, the workshop was tremendously useful, with plenty of both entertaining and informative besides. (Droid flight dynamics, I'm lookin' at you.) I presented an early-stage work tentatively titled "Motive Matters," assessing the Court's tendency to confuse judicial competence in assessing governmental motive with constitutional forgiveness of motives beyond the pale. I'll be investing more work on the piece, aided substantially by the exceedingly thoughtful feedback that I received. And I'll sincerely hope that the other participants found the conference as enjoyable as I did. Thanks to all -- and particularly thanks to David Fagundes for pulling it all together. Prawfsfest! X, the bar's been set high.