CLE Program “Will state constitutions become the primary source of individual rights?” 4 – 5:30 p.m. | The Biltmore
Description: Recent landmark decisions by the Supreme Court, such as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization have refocused attention on state constitutions, leading advocates and courts to turn to state constitutions for additional protections. State supreme courts have already responded, as have scholars interested in judicial federalism. In this session, jurists and legal scholars will review these trends and discuss state constitutionalism and its implications in this new era.
Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. His work has won awards from the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than 45 cases. In his most recent book, The Words that Made Us, Professor Amar unites history and law in a narrative of the biggest constitutional questions early Americans confronted.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial CourtJustice Scott Kafker has served on the bench since 2017. He has also served as deputy chief legal counsel to Governor William F. Weld and served as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court from July 2015 to August 2017. Justice Kafker taught state constitutional law at Boston College Law School from 2009 to 2015 and continues to teach and present on the topic.
Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus Robert F. Williams teaches in the Rutgers School of Law and serves as director of the school’s Center for Constitutional Studies. His books include: The Law of American State Constitutions (2009); The New Jersey State Constitution (2d Ed. 2012) and State Constitutional Law, Cases and Materials (Fourth Edition, 2006). Professor Williams’ newly released The New Jersey State Constitution is an overview of New Jersey’s constitutional history, providing an in-depth analysis of the entire constitution and detailing the many significant changes that have been made since its initial drafting.
Guests are invited to join legal and judicial luminaries for a panel and reception. The theme of the event will be “JUSTICE FOR ALL…Upholding the Rule of Law.” And the evening’s reception will feature a panel discussion that will include:
Judge Rosemary Barkett
Judge Barkett has been a member of the Iran–United States Claims Tribunal located in The Hague, Netherlands, since 2013 and previously served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Prior to her nomination for that post, she was Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
Judge DeAndrea Gist Benjamin In February of this year Judge Benjamin was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. She previously served 12 years as a judge of the South Carolina Circuit Court for the 5th Circuit and for seven years before that on the bench of the City of Columbia (South Carolina) Municipal Court.
Judge Thomas B. Griffith Formerly a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Griffithis special counsel at Hunton Andrews Kurth. He was a member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States and was a co-author of “Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Biden Won and Trump Lost the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Senator Doug Jones
A former U.S. senator and U.S. attorney for Alabama, Mr. Jones is counsel at ArentFox Schiff and a distinguished senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. In the early 2000s, he successfully prosecuted two members of the Ku Klux Klan for their roles in the 1963 white supremacist terrorist bombing of a Birmingham church that left four Black girls dead. In 2022 he guided Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson through the nomination and Senate confirmation process.
Solicitor General Neal Katyal
A former acting solicitor general of the United States, Mr. Katyal is a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. By the time of the Miami event, he will have likely argued his 50th case before the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a familiar face on cable news programs and has played himself on Netflix’s “House of Cards” and Showtime’s “Billions.”
The conversation will be moderated by NJC Board of Trustees Chair Edward R. Blumberg, founder and partner in the Miami trial law firm of Deutsch Blumberg & Caballero, P.A. He is a past president of the Florida Bar, the country’s third-largest bar, and a former member of the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar and the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association.