OPEN UNIVERSITY SEPTEMBER 4, 2006
Alan, the panel I attended that had by far the biggest turnout was on The American Constitutional Order After 9/11 and centered on the important questions of executive power and overreach--surely among the "threats to American democracy" that you suggested political scientists didn't care to hear about.
It featured a great lineup of scholars who genuinely disagreed with each other. (Many also blogospheric regulars: Orin Kerr, of his own blog and The Volokh Conspiracy, and Jack Balkin, Marty Lederman, and Kim Lane Sheppele, all of Balkinization.) And it drew what I'll guess was one of the biggest crowds of the conference. I'm afraid the international/domestic inference you're trying to draw from two panels seems pretty unlikely to me.
Dan's suggestion that the panels were more distinguished by disagreement cycles us back to Cass's post on his research on uniformity and diversity on judicial panels--which in turn is part of the important research he's been doing for years on ideological amplifcation and polarization more generally. I'll talk a bit about that connection in my next post.
--Jacob T. Levy