LOS ANGELES, April 26, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nearly 40 leading figures from the legal, judicial, political, academic and media communities will gather in Chicago on May 26 to discuss growing threats to the independence and impartiality of US courts- States and in other democracies, and how to defend themselves.
Democracy’s Last Line of Defense: A Symposium on Why and How to Preserve the Rule of Law and an Independent and Impartial Judiciary will take place on Thursday, May 26 at the Old Chicago Post Office. Full details, including a link to register, are available on the National Judicial College website.
As founding sponsor, Robins Kaplan is part of the Judicial Independence Collaborative, a newly formed consortium of the National Judicial College, Berkeley Judicial Institute at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Berkeley Civil Justice Research Initiative. This symposium is the first in a planned annual series on this topic.
Roman Silberfeld, Past President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and National Trial Chair of the law firm Robins Kaplan, said: “Many people are aware of the decline of democracy and the rise of totalitarian regimes across the world. impartial judicial systems act as a safeguard for a free society. This event is about finding ways to keep the guardrail up.
Confirmed speakers include:
Former U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who will give the keynote address
Six current and former justices of the U.S. state and territory supreme courts, including four chief justices, including Tani Cantil-Sakauye of California and Anne M. Burke of Illinois
Ganna Vronska, Justice of the Supreme Court of Ukraine
Current American Bar Association President Reginald Turner and former ABA President Judy Perry Martinez
Marc Racicot, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Governor of Montana
Dean of UC Berkeley Law School, author and frequent commentator Erwin Chemerinsky
Current and former state and federal judges
Eva Paterson, President and Co-Founder of the Equal Justice Society
NYU School of Law Stokes Professor of Law Melissa Murray
Mother Jones Magazine MSNBC Bureau Chief and On-Air Analyst David Corn
Ancient Newsweek legal affairs editor David A. Kaplan, author of “The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court in the Age of Trump.”
The one-day event will include panel discussions on a wide range of threats to the impartiality and independence of the courts, including partisan pressure, misinformation spread through social media and racial bias. For example, New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice reported that in 2021, lawmakers in 16 states introduced 37 bills that would have pressured or restricted the taking of judicial decision, targeting individual judges for unpopular decisions, or removing the power of courts to manage their own rules or resources. Five such bills have been enacted.
The penultimate part of the symposium will bring speakers and audience members together in groups and use design thinking to brainstorm ideas on how to counter these threats.
Registration for the symposium is $395 for law firm professionals and $145 for all others and includes a reception the night before at the Fairmont Chicago in Millennium Park.
National Judicial College President Benes Aldana noted that a survey of more than 13,000 College alumni suggested that 9 in 10 judges believe judicial independence is under threat.
“Judges understand the issues of having courts rigged to serve partisan or other vested interests rather than the rule of law,” Aldana said. “This symposium is just one example of our defense of judicial independence, which the Model Code of Judicial Conduct requires all judges to do.”
The event is sponsored by the organizers listed above as well as these founding sponsors: Law School Admission Council, American College of Trial Lawyers, Flaschner Judicial Institute, Allstate Insurance, Roman Silberfeld, JAMS, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Quarles & Brady LLP, Susman Godfrey LLP, Edward Blumberg, Esq., Cliff Edwards, Esq., Keller Rohrback Law Offices LLP, Signature Resolution and Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP.
About Robins Kaplan LLP®
Robins Kaplan is among the nation’s leading litigation law firms, with over 225 attorneys located in Bismarck, ND; Boston; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Silicon Valley; and Sioux Falls, SD The firm litigates, mediates and arbitrates complex, high-stakes disputes, repeatedly earning national recognition. The firm’s clients include, as plaintiffs and defendants, numerous Fortune 500 companies, emerging market companies, entrepreneurs and individuals.
Note: Media covering the event are welcome to attend free of charge, but advance notice is required for security reasons. Call or write to arrange ticket and name badge.
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