Friday, September 17, 2010

Justice Stevens Returns to the CBA

The CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Over 650 CBA members assembled in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton and Towers Hotel on the evening of Sept. 15 to honor one of our own -- Justice John Paul Stevens -- in his first return to Chicago since retiring from the United States Supreme Court this summer. We celebrated his career of service, and also honored the two 2010 recipients of the John Paul Stevens Award, Judge Wayne Andersen and Judge Sophia Hall. 

From left: Stevens Award winner Judge Wayne Andersen,
Justice John Paul Stevens, Stevens Award winner Judge
Sophia Hall and me.
Justice Stevens spoke of his views on the misguided attempts to use history by the majorities in four recent decisions of the Court which stuck down gun control laws, including McDonald v. City of Chicago, decided this past term. Of the McDonald decision, Justice Stevens said: “[T]he most persuasive history on which the Court relied to support its holding that the constitutional right at issue is truly ‘fundamental’ is its account of the post-Civil War atrocities committed by the Ku Klux Klan and other racists against African-Americans whom they out-gunned. Implicit in the discussion is the suggestion that rather than allowing the government to disarm the law-breakers, the draftsmen of the 14th Amendment wanted all the adversaries to have adequate weaponry for a fair fight.” (The full text of Justice Stevens’ remarks will appear in the next issue of the CBA Record.)

Proclamation making the Justice
"Honorary President" of the Association

The CBA Board of Managers honored Justice Stevens’ long service to the Association by presenting him with a resolution naming him Honorary President of the Chicago Bar Association. Justice Stevens, tongue in cheek, graciously accepted after extracting the CBA’s promise that we would not require him to resign from any of his country club memberships in order to serve. Justice Stevens also eagerly accepted Young Lawyers Section Chair Jill Eckert McCall’s resolution naming him “Honorary Young Lawyer in Perpetuity.” The Justice said that resolution had special meaning for him, because his brother, who he credits for persuading him to go to law school, had served as the Young Lawyer Committee’s representative on the  Board of Managers.

With his lifelong friend Judge William Bauer
Before and after dinner, we were entertained by the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and after dinner we enjoyed the music of the Barristers Big Band. It was a great reunion between the CBA and one if its own, Justice John Paul Stevens.    
Jill Eckert McCall announces the YLS proclamation making the Justice
a "Young Lawyer in Perpetuity"

On the dais were, Judge Timothy Evans (l), Judge Sophia Hall
and CBA Secretary J. Timothy Eaton