Law school speaker series focuses on public interest

A lead counsel in the Guantanamo Bay detainees U.S. Supreme Court case, an expert on pornography in feminism and law, and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee for his work in international criminal justice are part of the fall lineup for the Washington University School of Law’s ninth annual Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series.

Titled “Access to Justice: The Social Responsibility of Lawyers,” the yearlong series brings to WUSTL nationally and internationally prominent experts in such areas as international human rights, the economics of poverty, racial justice, capital punishment, clinical legal education, government public service and pro bono private practice.

Series coordinators are WUSTL’s Karen L. Tokarz, J.D., professor of law and executive director of clinical education and of alternative dispute resolution programs, and Peter Wiedenbeck, J.D., associate dean of faculty and the Joseph H. Zumbalen Professor of Law.

Seymour Hersh, veteran investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, opened the series on Sept. 6 in Graham Chapel with a talk on “Chain of Command: From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib and Beyond.”

Remaining lectures in the series will be held in Anheuser-Busch Hall. They are free and open to the public.

• 11 a.m. Sept. 27 — Marianne Wesson, professor and Wolf-Nichol Fellow at the University of Colorado School of Law, will present “Unquiet Grave: The Hillmon Case and the Supreme Court.”

Wesson is well known for her work on pornography in feminism and law. She is an experienced trial attorney and author of legal mystery novels, “Render Up the Body” and “A Suggestion of Death.” Her latest book, “Chilling Effect,” deals with the relationship between pornography and free speech. She is a regular legal commentator on National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” Wesson’s talk is co-sponsored by the Women’s Law Caucus.

• 9 a.m. Sept. 29 — M. Cherif Bassiouni, the Distinguished Research Professor of Law and president of the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University College of Law, will examine “The Legal/Moral Legacy of Nuremberg and Its Impact on International Criminal Justice.”

Bassiouni’s talk serves as the keynote address for “Judgment at Nuremberg,” a symposium commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Nazi war trials and scheduled Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at WUSTL’s law school. The symposium is co-sponsored by the school’s Whitney R. Harris Institute for Global Legal Studies.

Bassiouni is president of the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences in Siracusa, Italy, as well as the honorary president of the International Association of Penal Law, based in Paris. He has served the United Nations in a variety of capacities, and in 1999 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the field of international criminal justice and for his contribution to the creation of the International Criminal Court.

• 11 a.m. Oct. 4 — William Kovacic, a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, will talk about “Competition Policy, Consumer Protection and Economic Disadvantage.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the Student Bar Association.

Kovacic is on leave as the E.K. Gubin Professor of Government Contracts Law at George Washington University Law School. Since 1992, he has served as an adviser on antitrust and consumer protection issues to the governments of Armenia, Benin, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Guyana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Panama, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. He also has written books and articles on antitrust law.

• 11 a.m. Oct. 11 — Lucas Guttentag, a highly regarded immigration law expert and national director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, will explore “Immigrants’ Rights in the Courts and Congress: Constitutional Protections and the Rule of Law After 9/11.”

Under Guttentag’s direction, the Immigrants’ Rights Project staff conducts a program of national impact litigation, advocacy and public education to enforce and expand the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants. This talk is co-sponsored by Equal Justice Works.

• 3 p.m. Oct. 31 — Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, will present “Has Modern Complex Litigation Outgrown the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? The Case of Antitrust.”

Epstein has served as the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000. His books include “Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classical Liberalism” and “Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With the Common Good.”

• 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2 — Joseph Margulies, a lecturer and trial attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University’s School of Law, will examine “Prisons Beyond the Law: Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power.”

Margulies is the author of the recently published book, “Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power.” He has been a successful civil rights and capital defense attorney for 14 years. He has represented death row inmates across the country and was lead counsel in the Guantanamo Bay detainees case Rasul et al. v. Bush et al., decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006. This lecture is co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the Cardozo Society.

• 4 p.m. Nov. 7 — Richard A. Gephardt, former U.S. Congressman and advisory board chairman of WUSTL’s Richard A. Gephardt Institute for Public Service, will speak on “Addressing America’s Most Pressing Problems.”

Gephardt served for 28 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Missouri’s Third Congressional District and served as majority leader. He is senior counsel in the Government Affairs practice group of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary in Washington, D.C. His talk is co-sponsored by the Richard A. Gephardt Institute for Public Service.

• Noon. Nov. 20 — Stephanie Wildman, professor of law and director of the Center for Social Justice and Public Service at Santa Clara University School of Law, will address “Race, Social Justice and Democracy.”

Wildman is the author of “Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild.

The series continues in the spring with four lectures. For more information, call 314-935-4958.