Fourth U.S. justice in three years to visit UF College of Law

Published: October 20th, 2008

Category: News

Justice Stevens

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens will be the fourth Supreme Court justice to visit UF Law in three years.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens will engage in a “conversation” with Levin College of Law students, faculty and staff Nov. 17, bringing to four the number of Supreme Court Justices to visit the Gainesville campus in three years.

Stevens will share the stage at the UF Performing Arts Center with his friend and colleague U.S. District Court Judge Jose A. Gonzalez Jr., a UF Law alumnus, in the inaugural Marshall Criser Distinguished Lecture.

“It’s an incredible honor for us and a tribute to the school and the influence of its alumni that we have been able to host speakers of this caliber,” said Robert Jerry, UF Levin College of Law dean and Levin, Mabie and Levin Professor of Law. “These visits provide our students with a unique opportunity to gain insight into the premier legal talents of our time. We think it’s particularly fitting that the first Marshall Criser Distinguished Lecture will feature both an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and a distinguished UF alumnus.”

Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. judged the UF Law Moot Court Final Four Competition in early September 2008, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke and helped dedicate a classroom in honor of her close friend and colleague Chesterfield Smith in September 2006, and Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke during dedication ceremonies for the college’s new facilities in September 2005.

The format for the Criser Lecture, named in honor of UF Law graduate and former UF President Marshall Criser, will be an on-stage conversation with Stevens and Gonzalez, who will take questions suggested by students and posed by faculty and third-year law student and Florida Law Review Editor-in-Chief Larry Doughtery. The event will be held at 10 a.m. at UF’s Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are free and will be available first and primarily to the law school community.

“This is a thrilling opportunity for the entire law school. Obviously, Justice Stevens has written many influential opinions, and it will be exciting to ask him questions and hear him speak up close,” said Dougherty.

Justice Stevens became an associate justice in 1975 after being nominated by President Gerald Ford. Prior to that, he served as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He also served as second vice president of the Chicago Bar Association and was a member of the attorney general’s National Committee to Study Antitrust Law.

Gonzalez was installed as a judge in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, after being nominated in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. Before that he served as assistant state attorney for the 15th Circuit Court of Florida. He also served as a circuit judge on the 17th Circuit of Florida and was re-elected twice. Gonzalez received both his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Florida.

The Marshall Criser Distinguished Lecture Series was developed through a donation from UF College of Law alumnus Lewis Schott of Palm Beach.

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