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The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site will provide an insiders’ views into the workings of the U.S. Supreme Court during a special discussion Wednesday that will include stories from former clerks and a journalist.
As part of the presidential site’s “Off the Record” series, a three-member panel will share their personal stories of clerking, reporting and arguing cases in the country’s highest court.
The event will be at the Indiana Roof Ballroom beginning at 9:30 a.m. A brunch will precede the program with the entire session concluding at 11:30 a.m. More information including how to purchase tickets is available on the presidential site’s website.
Charles Hyde, president and CEO of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, said the Off the Record series started as away to fulfill the organization’s mission of encouraging public participation in American democracy.
“Part of that participation is understanding the structure of our American system of self-government, and that there are three co-equal branches,” Hyde said. “So, what we decided would be a great way to delve into those stories of the three branches of government would be to draw from the direct personal experiences of prominent Hoosiers who have worked with those respective branches of government.”
In 2021, the series kicked off with a look at the executive branch. This year, the focus is the judiciary.
The panel will include former Indiana Justice Ted Boehm, who clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren; Notre Dame Law School professor Nicole Stelle Garnett, who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas; and St. Richard’s Episcopal School teacher Andrea Neal, who covered the Supreme Court for 22 years as a reporter for the United Press International. Morgan Snyder, director of public relations at Visit Indy, will serve as the moderator.
Hyde said the discussion will not only take a look at the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the Constitution and being a check to the other two branches of government, but also examine how justice is provided through the law.
The panelists, Hyde said, will be giving direct perspective on “what the Supreme Court justices are contending with as they’re trying to apply the laws and the Constitution.”
The discussion on the Supreme Court has a special connection to Harrison, who practiced law before and after his term in the White House. He was identified in an American Bar Association Journal article as one of four “all-star” lawyer-presidents. In particular, he was noted for his “brilliant mind, extraordinary memory, unusual power of analysis, and great speaking ability.”
“He was one of the founders of the Indianapolis Bar Association and the Indiana State Bar Association,” Hyde said of the 23rd U.S. president. “He came to prominence in many ways professionally through his legal career and, post presidency, even rose to international renown as a lawyer.”
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