Is American democracy endangered? Gathering of top journalists and judges will assess the threats

Historic event will feature leaders of The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times along with prominent federal judges and state Supreme Court justices

Contact: Ed Cohen, Director of Communications/Marketing, 775-327-8285 (office) or 574-386-8915 (cell)

More than a dozen of the nation’s most famous and influential figures in journalism and the judiciary will come together Dec. 13 at the National Press Club to assess the potential consequences of efforts to undermine public confidence in the news media and the judiciary.

Among other issues, the participants – representing diverse political orientations – will respond to the repeated assertion that the press is the “enemy of the people.” They will also address criticism, legislation and other efforts perceived as eroding the authority of and public confidence in the nation’s judiciary. A recent poll of U.S. judges found that more than 90 percent believe judicial independence is being threatened.

Presented by the nonpartisan and nonprofit National Judicial College“Undermining the Courts and the Media: The Consequences for American Democracy,” a national symposium for judges and journalists, will take place 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.

This daylong, nonpartisan event will seek to answer questions such as:

  • How serious are the threats to democracy?
  • What are journalists and judges doing in response?
  • What can and should they do?
  • What are the likely consequences of doing nothing?

Click here for the full agenda.

These are the confirmed speakers (listed alphabetically by last name) for the afternoon events, including a media roundtable:

  • Jim Angle, former Chief National Correspondent for Fox News
  • Martin Baron, Executive Editor of The Washington Post
  • James Bennet, Editorial Page Editor of The New York Times
  • Matt Murray, Editor-in-Chief of The Wall Street Journal
  • Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today
  • Frank Sesno, former CNN Washington Bureau Chief and Anchor
  • Nina Totenberg, NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent (guest speaker during lunch)
  • Cecilia Vega, Senior White House Correspondent for ABC News

Confirmed speakers for the roundtable of judges:

  • Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California
  • Andre M. Davis (Ret.), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; Baltimore City Solicitor
  • Robin Hudson, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina
  • Royce Lamberth, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Barbara Pariente, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Florida
  • James Robart, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (he was labeled a “so-called judge” by President Trump for blocking one of his travel bans)
  • Shira A. Scheindlin (Ret.), U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

The media panel will be moderated by Bob Garfield, co-host of NPR’s “On the Media.”

The judge panel will be moderated by Alicia Bannon, deputy director for program management at the Brennan Center for Justice.

The keynote address will be by two-time Peabody Award-winning journalist Marvin Kalb, former chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS News and NBC News and Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, will host the portion of the morning program that will feature eyewitness accounts from people who have lived through a downfall of democracy in another country, including fascist Europe of the 20th century and today in Turkey.

How to attend:

Anyone may attend this event, provided they register in advance. Space is limited to 300 people, and more than half of the seats are already spoken for. There are two registration options:

  1. Attendees of any kind wishing to stay for the entire program, including continental breakfast and the catered lunch with Nina Totenberg, should register online here. The price ($60) reflects underwriting subsidies from the event sponsors.
  2. Credentialed media who are planning to cover all or any portion of the event, without meals, can register here for free.

This historic nonpartisan event is being presented in the public interest by The National Judicial College and its Reynolds National Center for Courts & Media.

Co-sponsors are:

  • National Center for State Courts
  • Law School Admission Council
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Charles Koch Foundation
  • American Association for Justice Robert L. Habush Endowment
  • Craig Zimmerman and Ellen Tenenbaum
  • Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
  • William S. Boyd School of Law, the University of Nevada Las Vegas

Additional support is being provided by

  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • American Bar Association Section of Litigation
  • ABA Standing Committee on the American Judicial System
  • Troutman Sanders
  • American Constitution Society
  • University of Nevada, Reno Judicial Studies Program
  • University of Nevada, Reno School of Social Research and Justice Studies
  • Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Civil Justice Program
  • Brennan Center for Justice
  • Scholars at Risk

Contact: Ed Cohen, Director of Communications/Marketing, 775-327-8285 (office) or 574-386-8915 (cell)

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