Wayne Law Review Symposium on Congressional Oversight in the 21st Century

On Friday, March 23, 2018, the Levin Center and Wayne Law Review held a symposium on "Congressional Oversight in the 21st Century." Leading scholars from across the country explored the definition of congressional oversight and how best to measure its effectiveness, examined the relationship of oversight and the judicial branch, and discussed various tools and mechanisms involved in conducting fact-based, bipartisan oversight.  The well-attended symposium, with more than 80 law students, scholars, and others in the audience, took place at the Partrich Auditorium at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.

This symposium was made possible, in part, by generous funding from the Cohn Family Endowed Fund.



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Symposium overview

When conducted on a bipartisan basis, with a commitment to finding the facts and uncovering the truth, congressional oversight fulfills the checks and balances envisioned by the Constitution, fosters bipartisan legislative relationships, engenders public trust in legislatures, and improves policy and government programs. 

In June 2017, the Levin Center at Wayne Law hosted a Scholars Roundtable on Congressional Oversight. This event was the first of its kind in the United States, bringing experts from across the country to Detroit to encourage increased academic research into the legal, political and historical aspects of congressional oversight investigations, techniques and effectiveness, and its role in the constitutional system of checks and balances. The Wayne Law Review Symposium built upon the energy and momentum from that gathering.

Read the Levin-Bean law review article: "Defining Congressional Oversight and Measuring Its Effectiveness"

Read the entire edition: Congressional Oversight in the 21st Century (Volume 64, No. 1)

Learn about the conference speakers



9 a.m. Breakfast in atrium 
9:30 a.m.

Opening remarks

  • Richard A. Bierschbach, dean and professor, Wayne State University Law School
  • Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levinchair, Levin Center at Wayne Law; distinguished legislator in residence, Wayne Law
  • Dane Lepola, editor-in-chief, Wayne Law Review
10 a.m.

Defining Congressional Oversight and Measuring its Effectiveness

  • Dr. Frank R. Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson distinguished professor of political science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Alan Kahn, public interest director, University of Michigan Law School
  • Dr. Kevin Kosar, vice president of policy, R Street Institute
  • Jonathan Lewallen, assistant professor of political science, University of Tampa
  • Moderator: William Marshall, William Rand Kenan Jr. distinguished professor, University of North Carolina School of Law
11:15 a.m. Refreshment break
11:30 a.m.

Congressional Oversight and the Judicial Branch

  • Dr. Lauren C. Bell, dean of academic affairs, professor, Randolph-Macon College
  • J. Richard Broughton, associate dean for academic affairs, associate professor, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
  • Morgan Frankel, deputy U.S. senate legal counsel, Office of Senate Legal Counsel
  • Moderator: Heidi Kitrosser, professor, University of Minnesota Law School
12:45 p.m. Lunch in atrium
1:15 p.m.

Keynote speaker

  • Steve Castor, chief investigative counsel, U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform under Chairman Trey Gowdy
  • Introduced by: Robert M. Ackerman, professor, Wayne Law; director, Levin Center at Wayne Law
2 p.m.

Congressional Oversight: Tools and Topics

  • Kimberly Breedon, independent legal scholar
  • A. Christopher Bryant, Rufus King professor of constitutional law, University of Cincinnati College of Law
  • Dr. Brian D. Feinstein, Harry A. Bigelow Teaching Fellow, lecturer in law, University of Chicago Law School
  • Andrew Wright, associate professor, Savannah Law School
  • Moderator: Kathleen Clark, professor, Washington University School of Law
3:30 p.m.

Closing remarks

  • Thomas Lurie, symposium editor, Wayne Law Review
  • Elise Bean, Washington co-director, Levin Center at Wayne Law
4 p.m. Cocktails and networking reception


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