Morse Center's new theme to focus on 'Defending Democracy'

The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics launches its new two-year theme, “Defending Democracy,” this fall with a lineup of speakers who will offer insights on the crisis of democracy in the United States.

“From the federal government to our state and local institutions, the threads of trust that bind us as a community are frayed,” Wayne Morse Center Co-director Ellen Herman said. “We know our democratic institutions are under pressure and our democratic values are fragile. We also know that strengthening them is an urgent priority. Our goal is to not only reckon with the problems but also to consider potential solutions.”

Retired U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio will serve as this year’s Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics. DeFazio will give a public lecture in winter 2024.

“With a career as an Air Force Reservist, a Lane County Commissioner, and the longest-serving member of Congress in Oregon history, Rep. DeFazio truly understands what it means to defend democracy,” Herman said. “He has been a fighter from Oregon to D.C. for decades.”

The Wayne Morse Center will kick off the theme Oct. 11 with Defending Democratic Institutions, an event featuring Tim Alberta, an award-winning writer for The Atlantic and author of New York Times bestseller “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump.”

Other distinguished speakers include Pulitzer Prize-winning legal journalist and Yale senior research scholar Linda Greenhouse, who will give a talk titled “How the Supreme Court Lost the American Public” on Nov. 28; women’s rights activist and Brandeis University professor Anita Hill, who will visit the UO in May 2024 in conjunction with Center for the Study of Women in Society’s 50th anniversary celebration; and New York Times op-ed columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, who will give a talk in spring 2024.

All events are free and open to the public. They will be recorded and available on the Wayne Morse Center’s YouTube channel. Visit the center's website for event updates and more information.