Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke University School of Law
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The U.S. Presidency: Looking Forward

Beyond Covid is a podcast and video series jointly produced by the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School and the American Law Institute examining how our legal system and institutions are changing to adapt to a post-pandemic world. The series is hosted by David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and president of the American Law Institute. Videos of each episode are hosted here; podcast versions of the same programs are hosted on the American Law Institute website.

The Bolch Judicial Institute also is updating a page of resources and helpful links relating to the courts’ response to the coronavirus pandemic; find it here. Find our first season of this video series, Coping with Covid, on our website here.

Election 2020: Post-Election Litigation

3.11.2021 | Season 2, Episode 2 | 1:12:17


Walter Dellinger, former acting U.S. solicitor general, Douglas B. Maggs Professor Emeritus of Law at Duke University, and partner at O'Melveny & Myers
Seth Waxman, former U.S. solicitor general and partner at WilmerHale
Donald B. Verrilli Jr., former U.S. solicitor general and partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson


  • David F. Levi leads a conversation with Walter Dellinger, Seth Waxman, and Donald Verrilli about their efforts to anticipate and prepare for a variety of potential legal challenges and disruptions to the 2020 presidential election.
  • With help from numerous volunteer lawyers and scholars, the former solicitors general prepared for three main scenarios: how the executive branch might use its power to disrupt the election process; what state legislatures or governors might do to delay or circumscribe the election or to discount certain categories of votes; and what might happen after the election with regard to challenges to electoral college votes or certification of ballots by the states.
  • They highlight some of the challenges they were well prepared for and some of the challenges they had not anticipated, particularly the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6.
  • They also discuss areas in need of reform in order to eliminate confusion and opportunity for future manipulation of the election system.

The U.S. Presidency: Looking Forward

1.14.21 | Season 2, Episode 1 | 1:14:27


David Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University
Daphna Renan, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Terry Moe, William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
Jack L. Goldsmith, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University


  • David F. Levi hosts a discussion examining the history and unique challenges of the U.S. presidency and proposals for reform to address issues raised during the Trump presidency.
  • Panelists discuss the rise of populism, backlash to the Black Lives Matter movement, and distrust in institutions and media as some of the challenges that will outlast the Trump administration.
  • Panelists also consider whether political norms can serve as reliable guardrails against future threats to the democratic process and what reforms may be needed to strengthen those guardrails.
  • The group also discusses the role of the Internet and social media in fomenting increasingly divisive political discourse; the challenges faced by both major political parties in charting their future in a post-Trump era; and whether strong leadership within the states may be a counter to ineffective federal government.