George Mason University

News at Mason

Law Professor to Contribute to Magna Carta Commemoration

July 24, 2013

By Buzz McClain

Joyce Lee Malcolm

Joyce Lee Malcolm

George Mason University law professor Joyce Lee Malcolm has been signed by Britain’s Magna Carta Trust to contribute to “Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015,” a book commemorating the 800th anniversary of the signing of “the great charter” at Runnymeade. The Magna Carta limited the powers of the King of England and laid the foundation for constitutional laws and individual rights.

Malcolm’s chapter will trace the impact of the document on America. It was an agreement Britain’s ruler fought, on the battlefield and in the Vatican.

“Since King John clearly signed the charter under duress, having just lost a battle to his barons and clergy, he appealed to the pope to annul it,” she says. “The pontiff obliged, warning that anyone who tried to enforce the promises in the charter would be excommunicated. Happily, that attempt failed, and 800 years later we will be celebrating the foundation of our constitutional liberties.”

Malcolm is George Mason’s Patrick Henry Professor of Constitutional Law and the Second Amendment. She has published widely on topics ranging from slavery to gun control. The American Bar Association nominated her to contribute to the book.