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Constitution Day Lecture (CLE)

September 18, 2017 12:10pm - September 18, 2017 1:10pm
UC College of Law, Room 114

Speaker: Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Judge Daughtrey will speak on "The Increasing Significance of an Independent Judiciary".

CLE: 1

About the lecture: The concept of an independent court system as the third branch of government has been under discussion and debate since the beginning of this country.  It is often traced to the Federalist Papers but was also reflected in one of the many complaints against the English Crown in the Declaration of Independence more than a decade before the drafting of the United States Constitution.  Lawyers and law students, as well as constitutional historians, know of the earliest, somewhat contentious efforts to establish an independent judiciary, beginning in 1801 with John Marshall’s assumption of the Chief Justice’s position on the Supreme Court and culminating in the 1803 decision in Marbury v. Madison establishing the existence of judicial review.

In recent times, threats to judicial independence have come from many directions. Perhaps the most widespread damage first hit the state judiciaries, where traditionally polite elections in those states with an electoral system became gloves-off brawls seemingly overnight.  Initially, the federal courts could merely observe the scene while basking in their election-free, if not politics-free, selection system.  But not for long.  What has happened and what, if anything, can be done about it?


About the speaker:  Martha Craig Daughtrey received both her B.A. (1964) and her J.D. (1968) from Vanderbilt University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.  She is currently a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, having been appointed to that position by President Clinton in 1993.  Prior to that, she served as an associate justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court (1990-93) and as an associate judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals (1975-90).  Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Daughtrey was an assistant professor of law at Vanderbilt University (1972-75).  Periodically, she has also served as a lecturer in law (1971-72) and as an adjunct professor of law (1982-83; 1988-90) at Vanderbilt.  She was formerly an assistant district attorney in Nashville (1969-72) and an assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee (1968-69).  She has held leadership positions in the American Bar Association and the National Association of Women Judges and was a long-time faculty member of the Appellate Judges Seminar at New York University School of Law (1976-2014).