Hon. George Anagnost

On this Monday morning, I’m pleased to send thanks and congratulations to Peoria Presiding Court Judge George Anagnost. That man knows his way around the Constitution—and a CLE.

Last Thursday’s “We the People” symposium was mentioned here before (here and here), and I emphasized it because it had all the inklings of a great event. It did not disappoint.

The panelists were each terrific, and they kept a packed room engaged on elements of constitutional law, history, policy and politics.

Today, though, I reserve special plaudits for Judge Anagnost. More than a moderator, he shared a voluminous knowledge of the subject before and between the visiting speakers. He is an educator’s educator.

One example was the big Bowl of Knowledge that brought surprise and more than one case of nerves to the audience. The bowl contained the names of audience members, and Judge A. would occasionally draw a name and ask that person to stand. He would then ask them a constitutionally related question:

  • Three Supreme Court Justices joined the Court immediately after serving as a state governor. Who were they?
  • What are the names of the Justices on the Arizona Supreme Court?

And so on. I don’t think I heard one correct response during the day (the queries were pretty obscure at times), but following each wrong answer, the Judge praised the speaker’s tenacity and awarded a Supreme Court tote bag.

Hmmm. Things really are different on the West side.

Now, before you write, I mean that in a good way. Here’s one more example: The Judge wore a boutonnière—and had at the ready a similar corsage for every panelist. Which they wore.

Now, I cannot be sure that every speaker was enchanted with the idea of wearing a corsage. But the Judge’s sense of ceremony and courtesy were infectious, and everyone came out smelling like a rose (or a carnation, as the case may be).

The Judge also compared the Constitution to another love of his: chess. He recounted a famous quotation: “Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe.” The Constitution, too, he pointed out, may provide a placid surface to the world, but excursions into it and its scholarship yield immense and complex riches.

Adding levity, he reminded attendees as they exited for a break—a la jury admonitions—“Do not form an opinion about the quality of this seminar until it has been completed.”

The Big (Blue) Bowl of Knowledge: Partially obscured but forever a beacon

So the next time you sit in a CLE and find your mind wandering, ask yourself this: How much better would it be if corsages and a Big Bowl of Knowledge were shared around? What seminar would not improved by a tote bag, or surprise quizzes offered with a smile?

As the Judge pointed out, symposium comes from the Greek for drinking party. At the Peoria CLE, there was no hootch. But there were high spirits. Well done.

More photos from the event are at the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

Today I bring you a nearly-last-minute reminder about a great event where you may listen, learn and mingle. Best of all, it includes a terrific panel of people who are coming to town to talk to you about the U.S. Constitution.

I wrote about tomorrow’s event before, but one or two of you may have missed it, so click here for more information (and some great photos of the panelists).

And you really do need to click here to register for the seminar. Go ahead; I’ll wait.

Please, PLEASE, don’t tell me “It’s way out in Peoria.” That is a wee bit annoying, for a few reasons. First of all, many people (including Bar members) live in or around Peoria. As our Founders would say, those people are pursuing their own version of happiness, and they don’t need anyone to tell them otherwise.

Cookies may be present tomorrow, but no promises.

There is another reason that comes to mind for why complaining about a little drive to your CLE is weak sauce. Let’s see: The Hohokam built the canals, probably with their own hands. (Cue the violins.) The pioneers lived in dusty shacks that let in the heat and the cold when neither was welcome. (Enter bass drum.) The state’s industrialists and laborers both did their part to carve the sixth-largest metropolitan area out of rock and worse. (Crescendo.)

And we? We must drive an extra 10 minutes in our air-conditioned vehicles to hear wise people speak on stimulating topics, and where lunch and cookies will be served.

(OK, I am totally guessing on the cookies part, but roll with me.)

In summary: You could attend for yourself and the pleasure and knowledge it will give you. Or you can attend for the Hohokam.

Your choice. See you tomorrow.

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.)