Boalt Hall Hosts Debate on School Vouchers

Contact: Erin Campbell, Communications Dept., 510-643-8010,

Are school vouchers a constitutional method for reforming education or an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state?

Professor Jesse Choper of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall) will join Professor Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of Southern California Law School to discuss Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court will determine whether a school voucher program in Cleveland, Ohio, is a constitutional use of taxpayer money in support of education or an unconstitutional government promotion of religion.

Jesse Choper is the author of an amicus curiae brief in favor of the school voucher program. Erwin Chemerinsky contributed to an amicus curiae brief arguing that the vouchers are unconstitutional.

The event is sponsored by the Boalt Hall Federalist Society and will take place Wednesday, May 1, at 12:30 p.m. in Room 105, Boalt Hall. The event is open to news reporters and the Boalt Hall community but closed to the general public. Professors Choper and Chemerinsky will be available to speak with members of the press after the debate.

Backround: Jesse Choper is the Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at Boalt Hall where he teaches courses on Constitutional Law and the Supreme Court. A former clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren, Choper joined the Boalt faculty in 1965 and was dean of the law school from 1982 to 1992. He is a frequent media commentator on various legal issues.

Erwin Chemerinsky is the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics and Political Science at USC Law School where he teaches courses on Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and the Federal Courts. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and is a frequent legal commentator for numerous media outlets.