ASU's Paul Bender as a bobblehead. My memory of law school professors is more head-shaking than nodding, but whatever.

ASU’s Paul Bender as a bobblehead. My memory of law school professors is more head-shaking than nodding, but whatever.

Yesterday, I spent much of the day hearing about last Term’s Supreme Court cases. The panel of lawyers and scholars was a good one, and, when it comes to the Court (and Shakespeare), it’s clear that the past is certainly prologue.

The speakers covered more than a dozen significant cases, and it’s certainly true that many issues will recur in the next or upcoming Terms.

Tomorrow, I may share a few thoughts about what works in this kind of program. For now, here are a few photos from the event. First, though, the event included a few unique elements, rarely if ever spotted at a CLE:

  • There was a magician. Yes, an actual illusionist. His name is Shawn Greer, he is quite good, and you can read more about him here. I haven’t been able to identify whose idea it was to include a magician’s skills during breaks and lunch, but I suspect it had something to do with the imaginative panel chair, Judge George Anagnost. Kudos.
Paul Bender and Hon. George Anagnost, Oct. 23, 2013.
Paul Bender and Hon. George Anagnost, Oct. 23, 2013.
  • There were bobbleheads. I suspect (but haven’t confirmed) that each panelist received a bobblehead in his own likeness. What I do know is that ASU Law Professor Paul Bender got one, and it was charming. Apparently each speaker was asked for a head-shot in advance, but they didn’t know why they were providing one. Now they know. (Professor Bender, nearly always right, so far as I can tell, muttered his cavils: The hairstyle was wrong, he doesn’t typically wear a tie, and the bobblehead was smiling. Very true, Professor. The smile was a deal-killer.)

Here are some photos:

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Supreme Court tallI wrote yesterday about a few conferences that crowd this week, all of them worth your time and attention. Today and tomorrow, I’ll share two more.

One week from today, we’ll have the opportunity to hear scholars and lawyers present on the most recent Supreme Court Term. They also plan to offer a preview of the upcoming Term’s cases.

Co-sponsored by the Peoria Municipal Court, this annual event was a great one last year. I’ve been able to attend before, and I’m always struck by the insights provided.

The event will be held on Wednesday, October 23, 2013, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Rio Vista Recreation Center, 8866 W. Thunderbird, Peoria (1/4 mile West of Loop 101 and Thunderbird Exit).

The luncheon speaker will be Hon. William J. O’Neil, Arizona’s Presiding Disciplinary Judge.

As always, the seminar chair is the scholar–judge Hon. George T. Anagnost, Presiding Judge of the Peoria Municipal Court. Here is the faculty list:

  • Hon. William J. O’Neil, Presiding Disciplinary Judge, Supreme Court of Arizona
  • Prof. Paul Bender, Arizona State University
  • Prof. Dave Cole, Phoenix School of Law
  • Robert J. McWhirter, Esq.

You may register online here.

Rio Vista 1

Rio Vista Recreation Center, Peoria, Ariz.

How does a state Supreme Court shape a state’s constitution?

That may sound an odd question, for the constitution likely preceded the supreme court. That and other brain-teasers will be addressed in a seminar tomorrow, sponsored by ASU Law School.

The event will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, Arizona’s statehood day, in the Jury Assembly Room of the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse on 401 W. Washington St. in downtown Phoenix. It is open to the public.

A panel of distinguished scholars and practitioners will explore “The Arizona Supreme Court and the Arizona Constitution: The First Hundred Years.” Among the things they will discuss are what elements make Arizona’s Constitution distinct. And what role has our Supreme Court played in forming the state and interacting with the Constitution.

Paul Bender

All of the panelists are writing an article for an upcoming special issue of the Arizona State Law Journal.

The panel will be moderated by ASU Law Professor and Dean Emeritus Paul Bender. The panel will be:

More on the panel discussion is here.

It’s always terrific when a great plan comes together.

That’s the first thing that occurred to me when I saw an upcoming CLE announced. It is on next Thursday, October 13 (from 9 am-4 pm), and it’s co-sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona and the Peoria Municipal Court.

The title of the program is “We the People: A Symposium on the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court.” Read more and register here. I plan to be there most of the day.

Rio Vista Recreation Center, Peoria, Ariz.

What appears most appealing is the opportunity to learn a little about both of those institutions that are central to our nation (and who couldn’t use a little of that). But just as important is the chance to hear from some scholars on modern-day cases and controversies. For example, the day’s roster includes immigration debates as enacted through SB1070, federalism and states’-rights questions, and federal review.

These are issues that are as timely as today’s newspaper.

Here is a description of the seminar and the faculty:

An exploration of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court by legal experts from across the country.

Seminar Chair: Judge G. T. Anagnost, Peoria Municipal Court

Faculty:

Professor Paul Bender, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University

Paul Bender

Dean David Meyer, Tulane University Law School

David Meyer

Professor R. Kent Newmyer, University of Connecticut Law School

R. Kent Newmyer

Professor Jennifer Chacón, University of California Irvine School of Law

Jennifer Chacón

Professor Justin Marceau, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Justin Marceau

Again, for more on this seminar, the day’s complete agenda and to register, click here.

To add to the day’s pleasures, you may want to bring your running shoes and workout clothes, because the CLE will occur in the Rio Vista Recreation Center in Peoria. I have heard amazing things about this place, and you can read more about it here. If you happen to be a Peoria resident, working out at the Center is free; if you’re not, there’s a small daily fee.

Rio Vista Recreation Center

Whether or not you exercise more than your brain that day, the Center is worth seeing. Here are some more photos.

Finally, the architect was Architekton of Tempe, Ariz. Click here for more about the building, including photos, drawings and concept.

See you in Peoria.

(Here are directions to the Rio Vista Recreation Center, located at 8866 W. Thunderbird, Peoria, AZ: 1/4 mile west of the 101 freeway off of W. Thunderbird Rd. Turn North on Rio Vista Blvd. and end at the Center.)

Arizona Senate President-Elect Russell Pearce

Controversy continued to build this morning over the proper role of various state players in the Independent Redistricting Commission.

Or should I say, the “Independent” Redistricting Commission. Whether quotation marks should be appended in future news stories remains to be seen.

The past week has seen the tension escalate, as state Republican leaders made known their distaste for the choices that would be forwarded their way. Publicly, they went after three nominees—two Republicans and one Independent. Read more about that here.

The public request to withdraw came from House Speaker Kirk Adams and Senate President-elect Russell Pearce. And the three who were “invited” to withdraw are Mark Schnepf and Steve Sossaman (Republicans) and Paul Bender (Independent).

Since that news story yesterday, we’ve learned even more.

Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams

This morning, the Arizona Supreme Court announced that two of those nominees—the Republicans—had tendered their withdrawal to the Supreme Court Chief Justice, Rebecca White Berch. Here is the letter from Mark Schnepf.

December 26, 2010

The Hon. Rebecca White Berch;

Members of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments

1501 W. Washington St. Suite 221

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Dear Chief Justice Berch and Members of the Commission:

This letter is in regards to my application to serve on the Independent Redistricting Commission.  I have received and reviewed email copies of the letters written by Speaker Adams, President-Elect Pearce and Paul Bender.

I disagree with the Speaker and the President-Elect regarding my qualifications to serve on the IRC.  As I understand the definition of “public office” as explained by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments I don’t believe that service on the New Magma Irrigation Board disqualifies me to serve on the IRC.

However, since the Speaker and President-Elect appoint the two Republican members and since I am one of the Republican nominees and they both oppose my application, it seems futile to remain a candidate.   I am respectfully withdrawing my application to serve on the IRC.

Thank you for the time and effort you are spending on this selection process.  Please accept my appreciation for your consideration and support of my application.   

Sincerely,

Mark Schnepf

So Schnepf did not reassess the facts and the law and conclude that the Republican leadership was right. He looked at the political landscape, counted votes, and saw that the jig was up.

What part of “keeping politics out of the process” does this serve?

ASU Law Professor Paul Bender, Dec. 2, 2010, speaking at an event honoring the Arizona Constitution Centennial

The Arizona Republic ran an editorial this morning titled “Keep politics out as Arizona draws new voting lines.” It urged the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments (which drafts the list of nominees for the Independent Redistricting Commission) to maintain its independence:

“You have the deep responsibility to Arizonans to maintain your independence and objectivity. In appearance as well as action. Normally, your commission deals with judicial appointments, which are far less fraught.”

“Now, the political heat is intense. And you must assert your independence.”

The complete editorial is here. You know it’s an important issue when it gets its own editorial (and when the Republic is breathless enough to use a sentence fragment).

Some may believe that this is a controversy that only nerds and wonks could love. Others may roll their eyes and say that everything about redistricting is political, so what is everyone complaining about?

But redistricting—while not forever—is for a long time. And the legislators who have the power to “urge” withdrawals today may be unhappy in 10 years, or 20, when their political opponents wield the same persuasive big stick.

Of course, that would be taking the long view, an unlikely outcome in a short-sighted state.

The Commission meets tomorrow. Let’s hope we can keep the quotation  marks out of Independent.

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