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Brown's Department of Political Science will continue to give undergraduates a taste of law next year when Steven Calabresi, a renowned professor at Northwestern University School of Law and a conservative legal scholar, joins the department as a visiting professor.

Calabresi will teach a constitutional law course in the fall and a comparative constitutional law class in the spring while continuing his research in collaboration with the Political Theory Project. Calabresi's family lives in Providence, and he typically commutes to Illinois each week to teach at Northwestern.

"I was very interested in being back in this area," said Calabresi, who grew up in Rhode Island. "Naturally, I'd like to do something constructive with the time that I have in Providence." Calabresi is taking a leave of absence from Northwestern next year to teach at Brown.

Calabresi started teaching at Northwestern in 1990. Before that, he served in various positions in the George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan presidential administrations, according to his curriculum vitae. As a law student at Yale, Calabresi co-founded the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, a "conservative and libertarian intellectual network" that now has more than 250 law school and professional chapters, according to the society's website.

The Department of Political Science was "particularly delighted" about this hire, said Associate Professor of Political Science Ross Cheit, who called Calabresi a "really big name in legal academic circles."

The hire is also "part of the new emphasis that political science is placing on law," Professor of Political Science James Morone, chair of the department, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

"When I took over as chair, I talked to a lot of undergrads about what they'd like to see in political science," he wrote. "The answer I got most often was courses in law. We have been building our offerings in law ever since."

The department has been hiring adjunct professors from the nearby Roger Williams University School of Law to teach law-related courses for "at least three or four years," Cheit said.

Courtney Cahill, a Roger Williams professor of law who has taught at Brown in past years, will also teach a course this spring, according to Morone.

Taking law courses at the undergraduate level is "terrifyingly intimidating" but helpful to students considering law school, Kathy Do '12, a member of the Pre-Law Society executive board, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. But adding more law courses might make pre-law students feel pressured to take them all "to do whatever they can to prepare themselves for law school" rather than focus on undergraduate studies, she wrote.

Calabresi said he is excited to adapt his law courses for undergraduates and participate in events on campus. "I didn't know how very bright undergraduates would compare to very bright law students," he said, but the Brown students he met at a Janus Forum event and at a class last semester to which he gave a guest lecture were "as good as the best students I've had."

Terrence George '13, president of the Brown Republicans, said he hopes that Calabresi can "add some balance to the conversation" of political viewpoints on campus. Brown students "tend to have a caricature of what it means to be a conservative in their head," he said. "Perhaps being in an environment with an established conservative intellectual will help them to break free of their prejudice and be more educated."

Calabresi said he tries to teach students how to approach constitutional law from all viewpoints in order to find the one they think is best, regardless of his own views. He added that arguing against one's own beliefs is "part of what one has to do as a lawyer."


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