A Deerfield Forum

Does the United States Need a New Constitution?

April 11, 2024 at 7 pm in the Hess Large Auditorium

As part of our ongoing and collective work as an educational institution dedicated to student thriving and free and open inquiry, Head of School John Austin and the Deerfield Academy Academic Affairs Office are pleased to present the third annual Deerfield Forum. This year’s event will bring together three important voices to answer the question “Does the United States Need a New Constitution?”

This All-Academy event will take place on April 11 at 7:00 pm in the Hess Auditorium.

As an institution, Deerfield has long believed that diverse perspectives fuel creative and innovative thinking and build empathy and consideration. To continue to encourage school-wide discussion and ensure diverse perspectives on issues of contemporary urgency, we are excited to continue the Deerfield Forum, which was first proposed by longtime Academy history teacher Joe Lyons, to provide regular, sustained, and, in some instances, required opportunities for listening and conversation among the student body.

This year’s speakers

Jamelle Bouie

New York Times columnist


Akhil Amar

Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University


Jeannie Suk Gersen

Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

The Forum will model scholarly and civic engagement; and, by staging conversations among scholars, professionals, and civic leaders, promote constructive dialogue and active open-mindedness—a defining feature of Deerfield’s intellectual culture.

Students, please come prepared!

Before April 11, please read, watch, or listen to at least two sources below. Then draft a question to bring to the forum. You might get a chance to ask our speakers about it!

Get to know your Constitution

Your voice matters! Take part in the student poll to vote for which questions are important to you.

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie, a columnist for the New York Times and former political analyst for CBS News, covers U.S. politics, public policy, elections, and race. Jamelle’s political instincts provide audiences with unique insight on the past, present, and future of our national politics, policy, and the state of race relations. As he did while writing for Slate and the Daily Beast, Jamelle shares eye-opening perspectives on issues concerning the issues at play in America today. Jamelle Bouie appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation. His writings have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, TIME, and The New Yorker. Jamelle uses his unique perspective to take audiences to the front lines of the nation’s most significant news events, from civil unrest to political partisanship. He has emerged as a leading voice on the national scene, being named to Forbes “30 Under 30 in Media” in 2015. Jamelle stimulates provocative, much-needed thinking on critical national affairs issues. He helps audiences analyze current events through the lens of human history and in the age of social media. He deftly illustrates how the past reveals itself in the present, and how policy-makers, citizen activists and cultural influencers can seize the power of information to make a difference.

Akhil Amar

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law in both Yale College and Yale Law School. After graduating from Yale College, summa cum laude, in 1980 and from Yale Law School in 1984, and clerking for then Judge (later Justice) Stephen Breyer, Amar joined the Yale faculty in 1985 at the age of 26. He is Yale’s only living professor to have won the University’s unofficial triple crown—the Sterling Chair for scholarship, the DeVane Medal for teaching, and the Lamar Award for alumni service.

Amar’s work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in over four dozen cases—tops among living non-emeritus scholars. He was an informal consultant to the popular TV show, The West Wing, and his scholarship has been showcased on many broadcasts, including The Colbert Report, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Morning Joe, AC360, Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream, and Erin Burnett Outfront. 

He is the author of more than a hundred law review articles and several books. His latest and most ambitious book, The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840, came out in May, 2021. He also has a free weekly podcast, Amarica’s Constitution.

Jeannie Suk Gersen

Jeannie Suk Gersen is the John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she has taught constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, family law, and the law of art, fashion, and the performing arts. Before joining the faculty in 2006, she served as a law clerk to Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court, and to Judge Harry Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She was educated at Yale (B.A. 1995), at Oxford (D.Phil 1999) where she was a Marshall Scholar, and at Harvard Law School (J.D. 2002), where she was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. She has written three books and many articles in scholarly journals and general media. Her book, At Home in the Law, was awarded the Law and Society Association’s Herbert Jacob Prize for the best law and society book of the year. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of Harvard Law School’s Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence. She is a Contributing Writer to The New Yorker.