Justice & Society Seminars

Each summer the Justice & Society Seminar, co-founded by the late Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and held in Aspen, CO, brings together a diverse group of lifelong learners to discuss what we mean by justice and how a just society should structure its legal, judicial, and political institutions. The 2020 Justice & Society Seminar will take place July 6-12.

The fee for the 2020 seminar is $10,750, and scholarship funding may be available to certain categories of participants. Participation is by invitation only. If you wish to be considered, please send an expression of interest to Kalissa Hendrickson at kalissa.hendrickson@aspeninstitute.org, or call 202-736-3586.

The Justice & Society Seminar enables participants to explore and test their values and beliefs in light of their professional and personal experiences. A structured dialogue is based on a volume of specially prepared readings of classic and contemporary writings, law cases, and works of literature, including Plato, John Stuart Mill, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Rawls, Isaiah Berlin, and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Discussion topics include: Law, Morality, and Justice; Personal Autonomy; Religion and the Law; Race, Gender, and Justice; and International and Transnational Justice.

Among our past moderators are the late U.S. Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun and William J. Brennan, Jr., and current Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu; Judges Rosemary Barkett, William Fletcher, Brett Kavanaugh, Abner Mikva, Jon Newman, Diarmuid O’Scannlain, Laura Taylor Swain, Amul Thapar, Myron Thompson, and John Walker; Deans Robert Post and Daniel Rodriguez; and Professors Peter Edelman, Michael Fitts, Louis Henkin, Harold Hongju Koh, Melissa Murray, Burt Neuborne, Charles Ogletree, Michael Sandel, and William Treanor.

Seminar participants are distinguished individuals chosen from a variety of fields who bring a wealth of personal and professional experience to the discussion. They are often leaders in their respective communities who have reached a point where they are ready to take pause from their often hectic daily routine, and revisit the values and ideals that guide their work. Past participants include individuals from law, business, academia, journalism, medicine, nongovernmental organizations, and government.

The seminar fee includes 7 days and 6 nights’ meals and accommodations at the Aspen Meadows Resort. Participants can relax and enjoy hiking in the Rocky Mountains, working out in the well-equipped health center, or join in afternoon activities such as white-water rafting and tennis. Spouses and guests who choose not to participate in the seminar itself are encouraged to audit the sessions and are members of the group for all other activities.

Seminars are limited to 20 participants, so early enrollment is strongly encouraged.