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Dartmouth's Law Day examines same-sex marriage with three state Supreme Court Justices

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/15/09 • Media Contact: Latarsha Gatlin (603) 646-3661

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Law day poster
Download the poster of the three-day Law Day Program (644kb PDF)

The Vermont Legislature’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage couldn’t have come at a better time for the Legal Studies Program at Dartmouth or the Dartmouth Lawyers Association.

The Legal Studies Program, with support from the Dartmouth Lawyers Association and other sponsors, will host a three-day program organized around the subject of same-sex marriage. The program will take place from Tuesday, April 28 through Thursday, April 30 and is in recognition of Law Day which is May 1. Each program will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at approximately 6 p.m. The events are free and open to the public.

Of the three-day program, the third day is expected to be the highlight in which three Supreme Court Justices from different New England states will each address their participation in the landmark rulings from their respective courts on same-sex marriage.

The panel members include Associate Justice Robert Cordy from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Associate Justice Joette Katz of the Connecticut Supreme Court and former Associate Justice James Morse of the Vermont Supreme Court. Vermont attorney Beth Robinson ‘86 will moderate the discussion.

“Same-sex marriage is often viewed as the civil rights issue of our time,” says N. Bruce Duthu, Professor of Native American Studies and Convener of the Legal Studies Program at Dartmouth. “We're privileged to be able to bring some of the nation's most notable scholars to speak on this issue and particularly fortunate to hear from three state supreme court justices who each supported different judicial approaches to same-sex marriage.”

On Tuesday, April 7, 2009, the Vermont Legislature overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote came nine years after Vermont adopted its first-in-the-nation civil union law. It’s now the fourth state to permit same-sex marriage along with Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa and the first state to approve same-sex marriage by legislative instead of judicial action.

“These are cutting-edge developments with national and international implications,” says Duthu. “Audiences at this year's Law Day program will have a front-row seat to learn about history in the making.”

The three-day Law Day Program is as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 28, 2009
    KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY PROF. NANCY POLIKOFF
    4:30 p.m. in 3 Rockefeller Hall


    Professor Nancy Polikoff from American University, author of “Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law” (Beacon Press, 2008), will give the keynote address. The lecture is also presented as the annual Roger S. Aaron Lecture organized by the Rockefeller Center. Dartmouth Professor of Philosophy Susan Brison will moderate this discussion.
  • Wednesday, April 29, 2009
    PANEL OF SCHOLARS
    4:30 p.m. in 105 Dartmouth Hall


    This panel consists of three scholars who have written and spoken widely on the subject of same-sex marriage. The panelists are: Professor Greg Johnson, Director of the Legal Writing Program and Professor of Law, and Associate Professor of Law Jackie Gardina, both from the Vermont Law School; and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brian Gilley from the University of Vermont. N. Bruce Duthu, Dartmouth Professor Native American Studies and Convener of the Legal Studies Program, will moderate this panel.
  • Thursday, April 30, 2009
    PANEL OF STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES
    4:30 p.m. in 105 Dartmouth Hall


    A panel of jurists from three state Supreme Courts, each of whom have participated in landmark rulings from their respective courts on same-sex marriage. The panel members include: Associate Justice Robert Cordy from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Associate Justice Joette Katz of the Connecticut Supreme Court and former Associate Justice James Morse of the Vermont Supreme Court. Vermont attorney Beth Robinson ’86 will moderate this panel. Dartmouth College General Counsel Robert Donin will give introductory remarks and a formal welcome.
  • “CAREERS IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION”
    2:30 – 3:30 p.m. in 105 Dartmouth Hall


    The Legal Studies Program and the Dartmouth Lawyers Association is sponsoring a panel discussion specifically directed at Dartmouth undergraduate students. The panelists will include the three visiting state Supreme Court justices and members of the Dartmouth Lawyers Association.

Since 1983, the Dartmouth Lawyers Association has provided a forum to develop and maintain contacts with the diverse group of individuals who share the dual bond of Dartmouth and the law. The Association fosters meaningful dialogue on important legal, social and economic issues affecting the global community. The Association sponsors educational programs that feature prominent business, government and legal commentators, as well as distinguished professors.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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