Student organization spotlight: American Constitution Society

Professor Steven Ramirez, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, speaking at a KU American Constitution Society meeting at KU Law

The American Constitution Society at KU Law brings together students, lawyers, and judges who favor a progressive, rather than regressive, reading of the U.S. Constitution. We view other people as fellow citizens of a larger national community and believe they are entitled to the same rights and responsibilities regardless of race, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.

We believe the Constitution, and by extension many other areas of American law, can be understood only by reference to principles of decency, reason, humanity, and compassion. We see these principles as a starting point for enactment, as well as interpretation, of the law.

ACS’s mission is to harness these values of compassion and respect for each individual, and to integrate them into American law and public life, in order to build a stronger and more decent national community.

With this goal in mind, ACS at KU Law is honored to embark on efforts, sometimes with other student groups, to bring speakers to campus for presentations on imminent legal and political issues. We encourage lively and respectful discussion about these issues.

A few weeks ago, we were honored to host Professor Steven Ramirez of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, who has written extensively on business and corporate governance. He also just published “Lawless Capitalism: The Subprime Crisis and the Case for an Economic Rule of Law,” a book dealing with many issues involved in the financial crisis of 2008.

“I love capitalism,” Ramirez said during his presentation. “When it functions like it’s supposed to, it’s the best indicator of what works well – and that’s what we want in a meritocracy.”

He went on to discuss how the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute any of the CEOs who ran their banks over a cliff or participated in money laundering subverted capitalism by incentivizing getting too big to fail. Too big to fail, or jail, destroys the accountability that should be inherent in capitalism as a system. It encourages reckless lending practices on which the banks will still profit because they bought credit-default swaps – effectively betting against their own borrowers. According to Ramirez, banks “had an interest in these mortgages failing, and failing fast.”

ACS at KU Law had officer elections on April 9. If you would like to learn more about ACS at KU Law you can join our Facebook group, email, or talk with me or one of the other officers in the hall at school.

– Tim Bogner is secretary of the American Constitution Society at KU Law.