Oct. 17 program to examine 'Leadership, Gender and Judicial Section'

Oct. 17 program to examine 'Leadership, Gender and Judicial Section'

The impact of gender equity on the quality of judicial administration in federal circuit courts will be discussed at a program on "Leadership, Gender and Judicial Selection" that will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, in the Schulze Grand Atrium at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in downtown Minneapolis.

The program is co-sponsored by St. Thomas' School of Law and Thomas E. Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, and the Infinity Project.

The Infinity Project was formed earlier this year by a group of lawyers, legal scholars and political scientists to promote the appointment of a woman to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sixty-one judges have served on the 8th Circuit bench, including three before Congress officially established the court. Of those 61, only one has been a woman. Since 1995, nine judges were appointed to the 8th Circuit bench; all of them have been men.

As of July 2005, there were 50 women appellate court judges in U.S. circuit courts, but only one of those judges, Diana Murphy, was from the 8th Circuit. The 8th Circuit has the lowest percentage of women serving all of the U.S. circuits.

"The Infinity Project believes that the bench should reflect society as a whole, so that judicial decisions reflect public policy that takes into account differing life experiences and points of view," said Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, an assistant dean of the School of Law at St. Thomas and a founding member of the Infinity Project.

"We believe that it is a responsibility for all who participate in or impact the federal judiciary to address issues of gender differences and bring continuous improvement to the judicial system," she said.

Sherrilyn Ifill

The Oct. 17 program will be led by University of Maryland law professor Sherrilyn Ifill. She is a scholar known nationally through her writings on judicial diversity and selection, race, and impartiality in judicial decision-making.

Following Ifill's remarks, Judge Diana Murphy will be honored with the establishment of the Honorable Diana E. Murphy Legacy Award, which will be presented in the future to individuals who advance the mission of the Infinity Project and carry forward the legacy of Judge Murphy.

Concluding the program that afternoon will be a panel discussion on "Preparing for Diversity: A Primer on the Work of a Federal Appellate Judge." Murphy and Judge Michael Melloy, also of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will be among the panelists.

The program is free. Because lunch will be served, reservations are requested and can be made by sending an e-mail message to lawrsvp@stthomas.edu by Wednesday, Oct. 8. CLE credits will be applied for.

For more information call Chato Hazelbaker at the School of Law, (651) 962-4888.