January 31 Lecture to Explore Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor

William & Mary Law Professor Eric A. Kades will present the 2012-13 St. George Tucker Lecture titled "The New Feudalism" on Thursday, January 31, at 3:30 PM in room 127 at the Law School. The lecture is co-sponsored by the William & Mary Property Rights Project and will be followed by commentary from Emeritus Professor John W. Ely, Jr., of Vanderbilt University. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

"Class lines are sharpening in America today," said Kades, a nationally known expert on property rights and economic development. "Even more worrisome," he said, "the social and legal regimes that put the American dream within the reach of generations of Americans are under sustained, well-financed assault."  In his lecture, he will examine the symptoms of what he describes as a "new feudalism."  They include, for example:

  • income inequality in America, which is among the highest in the developing world, while upward social mobility is among the lowest;
  •  segregation by income in housing and schooling, which has steadily increased since World War II; and
  • America's income tax, which is extraordinarily less progressive than it was even 40 years ago.

He also will outline a range of options available to policymakers that can stem the growing economic divide.

Kades's scholarship has appeared in such publications as the Law & History Review, Northwestern University Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He received his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University, where he was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal, and clerked for Judge Morton I. Greenberg on the Third Circuit. He began his academic career at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he received three teaching awards.

Since joining the William & Mary law faculty in 2002, Kades has been honored with the 2004 Walter L. Williams, Jr., Teaching Award, a 2004 Alumni Fellowship Award, and the 2011 John Marshall Award. He served as the Law School's vice dean from 2008 to 2011.

Emeritus Professor James W. Ely, Jr., was the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, a Professor of Law, and a Professor of History at Vanderbilt University.  He has written about a wide range of topics in legal history and is the author of numerous works, including The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. 2008), American Legal History: Cases and Materials (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. 2005)(with Kermit L. Hall and Paul Finkelman), The Fuller Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy (ABC-CLIO, 2003), and Railroads and American Law (University Press of Kansas, 2001). Ely served as assistant editor of the American Journal of Legal History from 1987 to 1989.  He also received numerous teaching awards during his tenure on the Vanderbilt faculty. The William & Mary Property Rights Project honored Ely in 2006 with the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize, which is awarded annually to an individual whose work affirms that property rights are fundamental to protecting individual liberty.

The St. George Tucker Lecture Series was established in 1996 to recognize the scholarly achievements of a senior member of the William & Mary law faculty. The series is made possible through the generosity of alumni.

St. George Tucker was the second professor of law at William & Mary and a pioneer in legal education. His course material was published as the first American edition of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. For a generation, Tucker's volume was considered the leading authority on American law.

Editor's note: The Tenth Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference will be held at the Law School on October 17 and 18. For more information, please contact [[w|ktpond]] or call (757)221-3795.