Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs
Programs and Events 2005 - 2006
By Arthur D. Wolf, Director
During the fall term, 2005, the Legislative Institute sponsored three programs on the United States Supreme Court, three Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sessions, and a sitting of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. With the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President Bush nominated his first justices to the Supreme Court, Judges John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The Institute sponsored two seminars on the nomination and confirmation process, exploring the historical and contemporary issues that have arisen in the appointment of justices to our highest court. In these two sessions, Professors James Gordon, Leora Harpaz, Bruce Miller, and Art Wolf explored the wide range of questions associated with the appointment process.
The Institute sponsored the Tenth Annual Supreme Court Review Conference, which focused on the important decisions of the Court during the October 2004 term, and assessed the direction the Court may take under Chief Justice Roberts. Professor Leora Harpaz, who first began the conference 10 years ago, presented the decisions on race and religion. Professor Jamie Colburn discussed the Court's land use opinions, principally the Kelo case from New London, CT, the eminent domain case that has sparked such controversy.
Professor Arthur Leavens explored the criminal law decisions, particularly as they related to sentencing, search and seizure, and the death penalty. Finally, Professor Bruce Miller examined two interesting federalism decisions involving the medical use of marijuana and interstate wine sales. The program concluded with a panel discussion of the direction the Court may take under Chief Justice Roberts. Professor Art Wolf moderated the Review Conference.
With the Massachusetts Bar Association and our Alumni Office, the Institute hosted three Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs, which were open to the entire bar with special admission rates for Law School graduates and students. The semester CLEs began with the long-awaited program on the recent revisions to the Federal Bankruptcy Code (the changes were pending in Congress for over five years). Under the expertise and guiding hand of Federal Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff, the Institute hosted the "Fourth Annual Recent Developments in Bankruptcy." Bankruptcy judges and practitioners conducted a full day seminar on the extensive amendments Congress made to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005. The Institute also hosted two other CLE programs: "A Civil Practice in Housing Court" and "Handling Depositions." Again with a distinguished faculty of judges and attorneys, the audience learned first hand from key players in two important areas of civil litigation.
Finally, the Institute with Career Services hosted the semi-annual sitting at the Law School of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, with the Honorable Judges Barbara Lenk (presiding), Kent Smith, and Andre Gelinas. As usual, the docket consisted largely of criminal law cases with an occasional argument in a civil matter. We were privileged to have the Court join us for lunch after the hearings.