Thursday, January 8, 2009

AALS legal history program: Biographies of Federal Appellate Judges

Backbone of the Federal Judiciary: The Study and Biography of Federal Appellate Judges is the topic of this year's Section on Legal History at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in San Diego this week.
The session will be held on Friday, January 9, at 3:30 p.m. at Marina Salon E, South Tower/Level 3, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. Here's the program description:
Among the lacuna in the study of the history of the legal profession one of the greatest is the failure to think seriously about the role and personalities of the judicial figures who are neither trial nor ultimate judges. Yet they are among the key figures in legal history, testing out jurisprudence before it is set down by the Court and handling the regular appellate review necessary for a functioning judicial system. The biographers on this panel have begun to fill in our knowledge. The publication of their three volumes gives us a unique opportunity to examine the history of the federal appellate courts and the federal appellate judiciary by examining the lives and work of three eminent judges, each of whom has had key roles in shaping modern American law, especially that concerning civil rights. In Anne Emanuel's manuscript work, "In Praise of Activism: Judge Elbert Parr Tuttle and the Civil Rights Revolution," Joel Friedman's forthcoming "Champion of Civil Rights: John Minor Wisdom", and Polly Price's forthcoming "Judge Richard S. Arnold: A Legacy of Justice on the Federal Bench," the legal profession has an opportunity to explore questions not fully before considered in legal history. Michael Gerhardt, author of the 1995 Cornell Law Review article, "The Art of Judicial Biography," and many other pieces on the role of the courts, will comment on the presentations by the biographers as well as numerous biographical sketches of judges for legal and constitutional encyclopedias.
Gregory A. Mark, Rutgers School of Law, Newark, Moderator

Anne S. Emanuel, Georgia State University College of Law
Joel W. Friedman, Tulane Law School
Polly J. Price, Emory University School of Law

Michael J. Gerhardt, University of North Carolina, Commentator
A business meeting will follow the program. For newbies: this is where you show interest, get to know people, and eventually get elected to lead the section.