Judges' Day: 2001-02
February 26, 2002
Believing a law school can be improved by the company it keeps, the Moritz College of Law held its first Judges' Day on February 26. Judges and their clerks from federal, state and local courts throughout the Ohio and contiguous states were invited to spend a day at the College of Law to interact with faculty, inspire students, and expand classroom discussion.
Faculty offered a variety of courses for CLE credit, opened their classrooms to visitors, and participated in lively exchanges with judges over lunch and a late afternoon reception.
A highlight of the day was recognition of Order of the Coif alumni accompanied by a Coif lecture delivered by the Hon. Danny J. Boggs of the U. S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. More than 50 judges and their clerks participated as well as Order of the Coif alumni from the 1930's through the present.
The day began with a panel designed to encourage students to consider judicial clerkships upon graduation. Judges from local, state, and federal courts shared information about the application process, the responsibilities of judicial clerks and the long-term substantive value of clerkships to an auditorium filled to capacity with interested students.
Judge William T. Bodoh '64 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Ohio moderated a panel that included Judge Alice Batchelder (6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals); Judge Edmund Sargus, Jr. (U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio); Judge Charles Caldwell (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio); Judge William Batchelder (9th District, Ohio Court of Appeals); Judge William Wolff (10th District, Ohio Court of Appeals); Judge Nodine Miller (Franklin County Court of Common Pleas); and Judge Carole Squire (Franklin County Domestic Relations Court).
Judge Boggs' lecture "The Record to the Appellate Judge: Straitjacket or Springboard?" outlined the advantages and disadvantages of being constrained by a trial record made by others, along with the duty to remain faithful to that record. In addition to faculty and fellow judges, Moritz Order of the Coif alumni from the 1930's through the present attended.
Faculty provided a variety of CLE programming tailored to the interests of visiting judges. Professors Edward B. "Ned" Foley and Alan Michaels, both Columbia law graduates and clerks to the late Justice Harry A. Blackmun, reviewed and commented on the leading cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2001. They focused on differences in the opinions of "swing voter" Justices O'Connor and Kennedy in First Amendment cases, and criminal justice cases outside the well-publicized Fourth Amendment decisions. They also previewed upcoming Supreme Court cases.
Professor Deborah Jones Merritt, who holds the John Deaver Drinko-Baker and Hostetler Chair, discussed her research (conducted with Professor James J. Brudney, Newton D. Baker/Baker & Hostetler Chair) identifying factors that distinguish published from unpublished opinions - research that uncovered a surprising degree of partisan disagreement in unpublished opinions.
Professor Merritt discussed the implications of these findings for constitutional and policy deliberations. Professor Merritt clerked for both Justices O'Connor and Ginsberg.
Newly-named Frank R. Strong Chair in Law Joshua Dressler used selected 2000-01 Supreme Court cases to suggest possible trends in often perplexing and seemingly conflicting Fourth Amendment case law. Dressler is one of the top criminal law professors in the country and new to the Moritz College.
He is the author of more than 30 law review articles published in this country and abroad, and highly regarded books, including his widely-used and cited treatises, Understanding Criminal Law (3rd ed. 2001 Lexis) and Understanding Criminal Procedure (3rd ed. 2002 Lexis).
Professor Ruth Colker, Grace Fern Heck Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law and nationally recognized expert in the law of disability and discrimination, discussed the availability of relief for victims of disability discrimination by state actors in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in University of Alabama v. Garrett. That decision held that the Eleventh Amendment barred suits in federal court by state employees to recover monetary damages for the state's failure to comply with Title I of the ADA.
Professors Christopher M. Fairman and Mary Ellen O'Connell opened their classrooms to visiting judges. Fairman joined the faculty in 2000 and is known for his innovative use of 21st century technology and teaching methods in the classroom.
He demonstrated those skills as he explored settlement issues and the intersection of lawyer compensation and plaintiff class recovery with students and the judges who chose to participate in the discussion. Fairman is a former clerk to Judge Fortunato Benavides of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Professor O'Connell's class explored the international regulation necessary to protect the marine environment from oil spills, radioactive waste dumping and the killing of marine mammals.
A respected scholar in enforcement of international law and the use of force, O'Connell holds a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and graduated from Cambridge University and Columbia University with honors, earning her L.L.B. and J.D. degrees respectively. While at Columbia, she received the Berger Prize for International Law and served as Book Review Editor for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law.
Response to the inaugural Judges' Day exceeded all expectations and the event will be repeated this November 14. Linda Greenhouse, New York Times Supreme Court reporter, will deliver the Strong Lecture, new CLE courses will be offered, and classrooms will again be opened to visiting judges.
Funding is made possible through the generosity of the late Michael E. Moritz '61. Expressing her gratitude on behalf of the college, Dean Rogers said, "The exchange of ideas and experiences between talented academics and distinguished judges enriches the intellectual life of the both the academy and the bench. It is, we believe, what Mike Moritz envisioned when he created the Gregory H. Williams Dean's Fund for excellence which makes Judges' Day possible."