Tulsa Conference to Study Earl Warren

Article excerpt

The U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice credited with inspiring a "judicial revolution" that began with "Brown vs. Board of Education" will be the focus of a conference Oct. 10-13 at The University of Tulsa College of Law in Tula.

The conference, "The Warren Court: A 25-Year Retrospective," will assess the judicial influence of the Supreme Court between 1953 and 1969, when Earl Warren served as Chief Justice.

The Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., is providing funding for 20 federal judges to attend the conference, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of Chief Justice Warren's retirement in 1969 from the Supreme Court.

More than 25 conference speakers will present a review of the Warren Court era, a 16-year period that inspired what the late Justice Abe Fortas once called "the most profound and pervasive revolution ever achieved by substantially peaceful means."

The conference was organized by Bernard Schwartz, the TU College of Law's Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law, and an internationally recognized scholar of Supreme Court history and constitutional law.

"It is time for a major legal conference examining the Warren Court's place in American history," said Schwartz. "Despite the importance of the Warren Court, and the controversy that once surrounded it, no one has looked at what those years meant to America."

Schwartz, whose most recent book, "A History of the Supreme Court," was published in 1993 by Oxford University Press, is the author of more than 40 books including "Super Chief: Earl Warren and His Supreme Court."

"In 16 years, the Warren Court rewrote our interpretation of the Constitution by extending our definitions of civil rights, equal protection, and freedom of speech," said Schwartz. "If the Warren Court had not acted, issues such as racial segregation in the schools would have festered indefinitely. Without `Brown,' American society certainly would not have developed as it did."

Conference speakers will include David Garrow, author of "Bearing the Cross" and "Liberty and Sexuality;" David Halberstam, author of "The Fifties;" Anthony Lewis, columnist for The New York Times; Julius Chambers, former director-counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund; Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union; Yale Kamisar, Clarence Darrow Distinguished Professor at the University of Michigan Law School; and Richard Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

Also featured will be Richard Arnold, chief judge of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and one of three finalists for a U.S. Supreme Court nomination; Kenneth W. Starr, former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the District of Columbia; Richard Neely, author and former chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court; Alex Kozinski, judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; George Bushnell Jr., president of the American Bar Association; Floyd Abrams, an internationally known attorney with Cahill Gordon and Reindel; Mohammed Bello, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria; and Lord Woolf of Great Britain's House of Lords. …