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Forum on the Law Lecture Series

The Forum on the Law was established in 2009 by the late Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer as an ongoing lecture series. Events feature regional or national speakers who address contemporary or historic legal topics. Chief Justice Moyer viewed the lectures as another means to engage the public, with the aim of enhancing an appreciation for our legal system. Reservations may be made through or 614.387.9267. Please include all the names of those who will attend.

Oct. 21, 2019
Italian Inspiration & American Justice 
Today’s debates on criminal and civil justice take place in an arena created in the mind of a towering historical figure of the Italian Enlightenment, Cesare Beccaria. However, most Americans and many scholars have never heard of him. America’s Founding Fathers leaned heavily on Beccaria’s breakthrough concepts to create the foundations of our legal system. Beccaria’s new and bold concepts provided intellectual power to the arguments that spawned our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The fifteenth Forum on the Law featured noted author and lecturer, Dr. Charles Klopp, professor emeritus of Italian at Ohio State University, who gave depth and perspective to the life, intellectual development, and writings – and legal staying power – of Beccaria.

Oct. 18, 2016
Hidden History: How the Civil Rights Act of 1866 Lives in Our Lives Today 
Appreciation of the long journey of American civil rights law is vital to understanding how our nation’s aspirations of liberty and freedom have evolved. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which remains a cornerstone of human rights enforcement. The fourteenth Forum on the Law featured noted civil rights attorney Avery Friedman discussing the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and its importance in ensuring fairness and equal opportunity in American life.

Oct. 20, 2015
Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America
The thirteenth Forum on the law featured Wil Haygood discussing his new book “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America.” Haygood’s book recounts the stop-at-nothing efforts by a bloc of Southern senators to deny Marshall’s confirmation as the first African-American justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

May 27, 2015
Who Rules the World Wide Web?
The twelfth Forum on the Law featured leading policymaker Cameron Kerry addressing the present and emerging international conflicts over the matters of privacy, cybersecurity, and Internet governance.

May 13, 2014
Marijuana Legalization and the Law of Unintended Consequences
The eleventh Forum on the Law featured three leading experts discussing the rapidly developing area of law surrounding the regulation of marijuana.

Nov. 5, 2013
From Burma to Myanmar: Hard Road to the Rule of Law
The tenth Forum on the Law featured diplomat Priscilla Clapp addressing the many difficult issues facing Myanmar as it moves toward democracy and adopting the rule of law.

May 23, 2013
Gideon's Promise
The ninth Forum on the Law featured a panel of Ohio legel professionals discussing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright — the landmark case requiring states to provide counsel for indigent defendant's under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Sept. 6, 2012
How the Courts Failed Germany
The eighth Forum on the Law featured an encore presentation from United States Holocaust Memorial historian Dr. William Meinecke on the topic "How the Courts Failed Germany." The program, which was held at the Mandel Building in Cleveland, was hosted by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland in collaboration with the Ohio Supreme Court. Meinecke's first presentation was held at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center November 16, 2010.

April 4, 2012
In Praise of State Constitutions
The seventh Forum on the Law featured Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals championing the cause of making greater use of state constitutions. Judge Sutton advanced his position as a practical approach. "Lawyers are problem solvers, and when a state or local law stands in the way of a client's objective, it generally will matter little to the client whether the lawyer manages to strike the law on federal or state grounds." He has addressed state constitutional law in speeches, a law review article and a textbook he co-authored. "Many of the most groundbreaking constitutional disputes of the day are being waged in state courts under state constitutions. Whether it is school funding, property rights, the definition of marriage or other modern rights disputes, the state courts in recent years have gone from being civil rights followers to leaders."

Sept. 20, 2011
A Patriot's Life
The sixth Forum on the Law featured former South African Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs’ compelling life story of helping to transform South Africa from an apartheid state to a constitutional democracy. Justice Sachs began his career as a civil rights attorney, later was detained in solitary confinement, tortured with sleep deprivation and forced into exile. In 1988, while teaching law in Mozambique, he lost his right arm and sight in one eye when a bomb planted in his car by the South African security services exploded. Following his recovery, he returned to South Africa and helped negotiate an end to apartheid rule. As democracy took hold, he drafted the Bill of Rights for the new Constitution and successfully advocated for an independent judiciary. Nelson Mandela appointed Sachs to the country’s Constitutional Court in 1994. Over the course of his 15-year term, he confronted major issues facing both South Africa and legal systems throughout the world. The event was presented by the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law, the Columbus International Program, the Ohio Judicial Center Foundation and the Supreme Court of Ohio.

June 7, 2011
A Question of Authority
The fifth Forum on the Law featured celebrated historian Andrew Cayton who explored the ever-relevant questions of how authority is exercised in a government established on the principle of popular will. Can citizens be trusted to act in their own best interests? Or do they need others to judge for them? Americans have been wrestling with these issues since the days of the American Revolution. The event was presented by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Nov. 16, 2010
How the Courts Failed Germany
The fourth Forum on the Law featured Dr. William Meinecke, a United States Holocaust Memorial historian, who explained how pre-World War II German courts set the stage for Nazi atrocities by falling for promises of restoring order, professionalism and judges' authority. The event was presented by the Columbus Jewish Federation, Ohio Jewish Communities, the Ohio Judicial Center Foundation and the Supreme Court of Ohio.

April 27, 2010
Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion in America
The third Forum on the Law featured Sharon Davies, the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Distinguished Profession of Law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, who discussed her book "Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion in America" about a revenge killing of a priest and the resulting sensational trial in Birmingham, Ala., in 1921.

Oct. 27, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court - A New Justice. A New Term. A New Court.
The second Forum on the Law featured veteran legal journalist Tony Mauro who shared his observations and insights about the 2009 confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the Court's move toward a more open and accessible approach to the public. The event was co-sponsored by the Columbus Bar Foundation and Capital University Law School.

April 1, 2009
Cincinnati Bible War - The Controversy. The Case. The Decision.
The first Forum on the Law featured Professor Linda Przybyszewski who recounted the 1873 “Bible War” case that helped frame the national debate about church/state relations well into the 20th Century. The event, which drew an audience of almost 200, was co-hosted by the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society.

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