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August 28, 2008

O’Connell Conference Examines Current Challenges to the Judiciary on Sept. 5

The University of Oregon School of Law’s 2008 O’Connell Conference, “21st Century Challenges to the Judiciary: Judicial Independence, Popular Constitutionalism, and Judicial Elections,” takes place Friday, September 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. followed by a reception and dinner.

The day’s morning session will focus on recent threats to judicial independence both in the U.S. and abroad. Speakers will address challenges to the institutional integrity of our judiciary, as well as the struggle to create and maintain independent judiciaries in Russia, Ukraine, and Pakistan. Speakers include: Chief Justice De Muniz from the Oregon Supreme Court; Peter Wonacott, senior South Asia correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, who covered and will discuss the judicial crisis in Pakistan when President Pervez Musharraf dismissed the chief justice of the supreme court; and Liliya Katerinchuk, a judge on the High Commercial Court in Ukraine, who will discuss the challenges of creating an independent judiciary in Ukraine.

The day’s afternoon session will focus on the question as to what extent and in what manner the people should play a role in interpreting the Constitution. Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer, author of the controversial book The People Themselves:  Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review, will join former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Hans Linde and Professor Rachel Caufield of Drake University Law School in assessing the relationship between the public and the courts in interpreting the Constitution.

This year’s conference is being held in conjunction with the September 6 Oregon Ducks football game against Utah State. Conference participants will receive one free ticket to Saturday’s game, which will include a tailgate party sponsored by Oregon Law.

For more information on conference registration and the weekend’s events, visit the Oregon Law Alumni Web site.

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