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About the Constitutional Law Center

Opperman Hall
The Drake Constitutional Law Center is one of only four constitutional law programs established by the U.S. Congress and funded by the federal government. The Center's mission is to foster study of the U.S. Constitution, its roots, its formation, its principles and development.

Lecture Series

An integral part of the Center's activities is the Dwight D. Opperman Lecture series, an event of national importance in constitutional law. Mr. Opperman, former chairman of the West Publishing Company and a Drake Law School alumnus, endowed the lecture series in 1988 to bring the country's top jurists and legal scholars to Drake.

Chief Justice Roberts visits Drake
Eleven U.S. Supreme Court Justices have delivered the Opperman Lecture: Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (pictured left), Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Justice Harry A. Blackmun and Justice Samuel A. Alito.

The Distinguished Lecture Series brings to campus the nation's leading constitutional scholars to engage students and faculty on the important issues of the day. The annual Constitutional Law Symposium is a gathering of scholars, judges, and lawyers from across the country convened around a constitutional theme. Distinguished scholars who have participated in symposiums and lectures at Drake include: Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment and Director of The Information Society Project, Yale Law School; Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University; Emma Jordan, Professor, Georgetown Law School; Adam Liptak, Esq., U.S. Supreme Court Correspondent for the New York Times; Michael Dorf, Professor, Cornell Law School; Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute; and, Eric Posner, Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, University of Chicago. Other distinguished scholars who have participated in events at Drake include Prof. Michael McConnell (Stanford), Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky (UC Irvine), Prof. Michael Gerhardt (William & Mary), Prof. Nadine Strossen (NY Law School & President, ACLU) and Prof. Gerald Torres (Texas).

In 2012, the Center initiated a new program called the Iowa Constitution Lecture series. The inaugural lecture featured Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark S. Cady. In 2013, the lecture series was formally named the Judge James Grant Iowa Constitution Lecture Series. This lecture series is made possible by the generous gifts of Patrick Grant, LW'76, and family.

Drake law students have special access to the constitutional law scholars, judges and political leaders who come to Drake to participate in the Center's activities. Many distinguished guests also hold informal gatherings and small group discussions limited to law students and faculty.

Constitutional Law and Civil Rights Certificate

Students study in Kern Commons
The Constitutional Law and Civil Rights certificate program builds on Drake Law School's longstanding commitment to research and symposia. Students take 21 credits of coursework to complete the program.

To see the complete certificate requirements and download the certificate form, visit Drake Law's certificate programs webpage.

For more information, contact Mark Kende at

More Information

To learn more about The History of the Supreme Court, click here.

For more information, call the Center at 515-271-2988.

Last Modified: 12/15/2015 2:13:00 PM by Kayla Choate