Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Important Judiciary Initiative

Here is most of the announcement of the Georgetown Law Center regarding an important project on the judiciary. Particularly interesting, I thought, are the "interactive online product" for secondary school students, and "innovative technology" legal writing components:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Georgetown Law Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff is pleased to announce the establishment of the Sandra Day O’Connor Project on the State of the Judiciary at Georgetown University Law Center. The project will continue the work of "Fair and Independent Courts: A Conference on the State of the Judiciary", held at Georgetown Law in September 2006 and co-chaired by Justices O’Connor and Stephen Breyer.

"I am very pleased that Georgetown Law will partner with me in educating the public about judicial independence," said Justice O’Connor. "As a judge, it is critical to me that we help people understand the importance of a fair and independent judiciary in a constitutional framework."

"The Sandra Day O’Connor Project aims to be a valuable resource in increasing public confidence in the judiciary," said Aleinikoff. "We are delighted that the project can support Justice O’Connor’s work as a strong voice for judicial independence, both as a member of the Supreme Court and now as a retired justice."

Project plans include:

• Circulating the recommendations of the conference participants to all state Supreme Court chief justices and federal judges.
• Publishing the conference proceedings and scholarly background materials. A conference DVD is also being produced.
• Planning regional conferences in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and other venues in cooperation with the William H. Rehnquist Center at the University of Arizona School of Law and local law schools and bar associations.
• Developing an interactive online product for secondary school students on the role of the Third Branch with the Sandra Day O’Connor Law School of Arizona State University. Georgetown Law Professors Julie O’Sullivan and Diana Donahoe are employing innovative technology designed by Professor Donahoe for her new online legal writing instruction course.
• Monitoring developments in the 110th Congress related to federal judicial salaries.
• Planning a conference at Georgetown Law on state court judicial selection and elections to be held in the fall of 2007. Additional panel discussions and symposia on judicial independence topics are also being planned and will be co-hosted with associations and groups including elected officials, the business community, attorneys and bar groups.

A steering committee will guide the work of the O’Connor Project. Members of the committee, along with Justices O’Connor and Breyer, include Aleinikoff; former Solicitor General Theodore Olson; former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.); Larry Thompson, General Counsel of PepsiCo and former Deputy Attorney General; former White House Chief of Staff Kenneth Duberstein and three state Supreme Court chief justices. Meryl Justin Chertoff, project director for the "Fair and Independent Courts" conference, will serve as director of the O’Connor Project.
(hat tip: SCOTUSblog)

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