February 6, 2024 – Binding Dicta in the Ninth Circuit with Judge Lawrence VanDyke

Event: Binding Dicta in the Ninth Circuit with Judge Lawrence VanDyke
Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C.
500 N. Akard Street | Suite 4000 | Dallas, TX 75201
CLE Credit: CLE credit available

Judge Lawrence VanDyke serves as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Prior to that appointment in January 2020, he served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice.  Before that, he served consecutively as the Solicitor General of two western states—Nevada and Montana.  At the beginning of his legal career, he worked as an attorney in the Appellate and Constitutional Issues practice group at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP.

Judge VanDyke received his law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor on the Harvard Law Review.  He has engineering and theology undergraduate degrees and a masters degree in engineering management.  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Janice Rogers Brown of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Judge VanDyke and his wife Cheryl live in Reno, Nevada, and they have three children.

September 28, 2023 – The People’s Justice: Clarence Thomas and the Constitutional Stories that Define Him with Judge Amul R. Thapar

Event: The People’s Justice: Clarence Thomas and the Constitutional Stories that Define Him with Judge Amul R. Thapar
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Arts District Mansion
CLE Credit: Ethics CLE credit available

The Honorable Amul R. Thapar serves as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. His judicial career began in 2007 when President George W. Bush nominated him to serve on the Eastern District of Kentucky, making him the first South Asian Article III judge in American history. In 2017, he became President Donald J. Trump’s first appellate court nominee.

Before joining the bench, Judge Thapar served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. While United States Attorney, Judge Thapar worked on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (“AGAC”) and chaired the AGAC’s Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture subcommittee. He also served on the Terrorism and National Security subcommittee, the Violent Crime subcommittee, and the Child Exploitation working group.

Judge Thapar has worked in private practice, at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in both the Southern District of Ohio and the District of Columbia.  

Judge Thapar received his undergraduate degree from Boston College and his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating, Judge Thapar worked as a law clerk to the Honorable S. Arthur Spiegel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  

Judge Thapar has also published in the Yale Law Journal, Michigan Law Review, and Catholic University Law Review. He teaches courses on originalism, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, and legal writing at Notre Dame Law School, the University of Virginia School of Law, and Vanderbilt Law School.

September 5, 2023 – Supreme Court Roundup with Stephen J. Hammer

Event: Supreme Court Roundup with Stephen J. Hammer
Date: Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Arts District Mansion
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

Stephen Hammer is a associate in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he is a member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law and Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice groups. He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States during October Term 2020. He also served as a law clerk to Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Gregory G. Katsas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Mr. Hammer attended Harvard Law School, where he served as a managing editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy and received his J.D. magna cum laude. Before law school, he served as an infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and deployed twice to southern Afghanistan. Mr. Hammer received an M.Phil. in theology from Oxford, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in classics from Princeton and graduated as Latin salutatorian. Mr. Hammer resides in his hometown of Dallas with his wife and their six children.

August 24, 2023 – Our Colorblind Constitution: Ending Racial Discrimination in College Admissions with Adam K. Mortara

Event: Our Colorblind Constitution: Ending Racial Discrimination in College Admissions with Adam K. Mortara
Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Arts District Mansion
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

Adam Mortara graduated from the University of Chicago in 1996 with a B.Sc. in chemistry.  He then attended Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he received a masters degree in astrophysics on a British Marshall Scholarship.

Mr. Mortara graduated from the University of Chicago Law School with highest honors in 2001.  Following graduation, he clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then for Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States.  After his clerkships, he was a Temple Bar Scholar of the American Inns of Court.

From 2003 to 2020, Mr. Mortara was with Bartlit Beck LLP where he tried high stakes intellectual property cases and, more notably, Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard.  He retired from Bartlit Beck and founded Lawfair LLC, a civil and voting rights firm.  He has been a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School since 2007, where he teaches Federal Habeas Corpus, Federal Jurisdiction, Criminal Procedure, and Writing for the Judiciary.

July 27, 2023 – Careers in the U.S. Attorney’s Office

Event: Careers in the U.S. Attorney’s Office with Ken Coffin, Brian McKay, Errin Martin and Fabio Leonardi, moderated by Steve Fahey
Date: Thursday, July 27, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Arts District Mansion
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

Ken Coffin has served as an Assistant United States Attorney since 2014.  In 2019, Ken became Deputy Civil Chief in charge of the Office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement practice.  Ken became the Office’s Civil Chief in August 2022, and he supervises more than 20 AUSAs handling all of the Northern District’s affirmative False Claims Act litigation and the defensive civil litigation against the United States and its personnel.  Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ken was an associate attorney at Sidley Austin, and served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas.  Ken is a graduate of William & Mary and Notre Dame Law School.
  
Brian McKay is Chief of the Appellate Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.  Since joining the office in 2011, he has served in the Appellate Division and in the Violent Crimes Section.  Mr. McKay clerked for the Honorable Sidney A. Fitzwater in 2004-2005 and was an associate in Haynes and Boone’s white collar defense practice group before joining the government.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and master’s degree from Sam Houston State University.  He served as an adult probation officer in Hunt County, Texas for five years before attending the University of Tulsa College of Law.
 
Errin Martin joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in October 2008 and has served as the Section Chief over National Security – Cyber – Money Laundering since 2018.  She manages a section comprising eight attorneys, who handle all national security matters, including international terrorism, domestic terrorism, espionage, and export violations.  She also oversees all cyber investigations, all aspects of money laundering investigations, and asset forfeiture litigation.  Before joining the Northern District of Texas, Ms. Martin served as an AUSA in the Eastern District of Texas and as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Paul Brown, in the Eastern District of Texas.  She also briefly worked as an associate attorney at Thompson & Knight, LLP in Dallas.  Ms. Martin grew up in a small cotton-farming community in West Texas.  She received her B.A. and J.D. from Texas Tech University. 

Fabio Leonardi is an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, Texas, where he focuses on investigating and prosecuting white-collar crime, and serves as the Office’s coronavirus fraud coordinator.  Prior to joining the Justice Department, Fabio practiced for several years in Washington, DC as a counsel in the corporate investigations and white-collar defense practice of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.  Fabio has also taught as an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University Law Center.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University, George Washington University, and the University of Padua in Italy. 

Steve Fahey is a partner in Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Government, Regulatory and Internal Investigations group. Before joining Kirkland, Steve served 18 years as an Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas. He held several leadership positions in the Office, including Chief of the Criminal Division, Chief of the Civil Division, and First Assistant United States Attorney. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Steve served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Eldon B. Mahon in the Fort Worth Division of the Northern District of Texas. Steve received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, and his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.  

May 10, 2023 – The Citizen Lawyer: The Role of Lawyers in Sustaining Our Constitutional Republic with Judge Cory T. Wilson

Event: The Citizen Lawyer: The Role of Lawyers in Sustaining Our Constitutional Republic with Judge Cory T. Wilson
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Arts District Mansion
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

Hon. Cory T. Wilson has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit since 2020.

A native of Moss Point, Mississippi, Judge Wilson graduated summa cum laude with a B.B.A. in Economics from the Ole Miss School of Business in 1992.  He then graduated from the Yale Law School, where he was a member of the Yale Law Journal.  After law school, Judge Wilson clerked for Judge Emmett R. Cox on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  Over most of the intervening 25 years, Judge Wilson was a litigator in private practice in the Jackson, Mississippi area.

Before he was appointed to the Fifth Circuit, Judge Wilson also served in a variety of capacities in both state and federal government.  Most recently, he served as a judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.  Earlier in his career, Judge Wilson served as Chief of Staff for Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and as Senior Advisor and Counsel to Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch while maintaining his law practice on a part-time basis.

From 2016 until his appointment to the Mississippi Court of Appeals, Judge Wilson served in the Mississippi House of Representatives.  During his time in the House, he was the Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary A Committee and served on the Education, Elections, Transportation, and Accountability & Efficiency Committees.

Judge Wilson and his wife, Stephanie, have one son and remain active in their church, Highlands Presbyterian.

April 18, 2023 – Views from the Bench with Judges Pittman, Jordan, Brown & Starr

Event: Views from the Bench with Judges Pittman, Jordan, Brown & Starr
Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Arts District Mansion
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

Hon. Mark T. Pittman:  Before taking the federal bench, Judge Pittman served as a Judge on the Second Court of Appeals and the 352nd District Court in Fort Worth.  Before his judicial service, Judge Pittman practiced law at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas in the metroplex, and the U.S. DOJ’s Commercial Division Branch in Washington, D.C.  Judge Pittman also practiced at Kelly Hart & Hallman in Fort Worth.  He received his BA, magna cum laude, from Texas A&M University, and his JD from the University of Texas School of Law.  After law school, he clerked for Judge Eldon Brooks Mahon on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  
Hon. Sean D. Jordan:  Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Jordan was a partner in the Austin, Texas, office of Jackson Walker, where he served as the Co-Chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group.  Before that, Judge Jordan served as Principal Deputy Solicitor General for the State of Texas, representing the State in appeals in both federal and state courts.  He also served in the United States Army as an infantryman and paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.  Judge Jordan received his BA, summa cum laude, from the University of Texas at Austin and his JD, with Honors, from the University of Texas School of Law.
 
Hon. Ada Brown:  Before joining the federal bench, Judge Brown served as a Judge on the Fifth Court of Appeals and on the Dallas County Criminal District Court in Dallas.  Before joining the state bench, Judge Brown also served as an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County, where she was a felony prosecutor for the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.  Judge Brown also practiced at McKool Smith in Dallas and was an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at SMU.  She earned her BA, magna cum laude, from Spelman College, and her JD from Emory University School of Law.
 
Hon. Brantley Starr:  Prior to taking the bench, Judge Starr served as the Deputy First Assistant Attorney General of Texas, from 2016 to 2019, under Jeff Mateer.  Starr also served as a staff attorney to Justice Eva Guzman of the Supreme Court of Texas, and worked as an Assistant Attorney General, Assistant Solicitor General, and Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel, all in the office of the Attorney General of Texas.  Judge Starr also practiced law at King & Spalding in Austin.  Judge Starr received his BA, summa cum laude, from Abilene Christian University, and earned his JD from the University of Texas School of Law.  After graduating from law school, he was a law clerk to then-Justice Don Willett of the Supreme Court of Texas.  

March 9, 2023 – Litigating Second Amendment Cases in a post-Bruen World with Erin Murphy

Event: Litigating Second Amendment Cases in a post-Bruen World with Erin Murphy
Date: Thursday, March 9, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C., 500 N. Akard St. #3800, Dallas, Texas 75201
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

Erin Murphy is a founding partner at Clement & Murphy.  She is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading Supreme Court and appellate advocates.  Erin has argued dozens of cases in appellate and trial courts throughout the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court and nearly all of the federal courts of appeals.

Before launching her current firm, Erin was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and a partner at Bancroft PLLC.  Erin clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Diane Sykes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  She also served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States.  Erin earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center—where she now serves as an adjunct professor—and she received her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

Erin represented the petitioners in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.  In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court was asked whether the Second Amendment allows the government to prohibit ordinary law-abiding citizens from carrying handguns outside the home for self-defense.  The Court held that New York’s proper-cause requirement for obtaining an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  In light of the Court’s June 2022 opinion, Erin will discuss how courts are dealing with the historical tradition test and the types of laws that are being passed in a post-Bruen world.

February 22, 2023 – The New Originalist Majority with Carrie Severino

Event: The New Originalist Majority with Carrie Severino
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., Dallas, Texas 75201
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

Carrie Campbell Severino is the president of the Judicial Crisis Network, and co-author with Mollie Hemingway of the bestselling book Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Court.  As a go-to expert on the confirmation process, Mrs. Severino has been extensively quoted in the media.  She regularly appears on television, including FOX, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and ABC’s This Week.

Mrs. Severino writes and speaks on a wide range of judicial issues, including the constitutional limits on government, the federal nomination process, and state judicial selection.  She has testified before Congress on constitutional questions and briefed Senators on judicial nominations, and regularly files briefs in high-profile Supreme Court cases.  She was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and to Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School (J.D.), Duke University (B.A., Biology), and Michigan State University (M.A., Linguistics).

February 8, 2023 – A Conversation about State Constitutional Law with Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton and Justice Evan A. Young

Event: A Conversation about State Constitutional Law with Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton and Justice Evan A. Young
Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., Dallas, Texas 75201
CLE Credit: CLE credit is pending

State constitutions are a vital, yet often underappreciated, element of America’s legal system—providing valuable lessons for both the protection of individual liberties and the separation of powers.  Please join us for a conversation about the importance of state constitutional law, featuring Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Justice Evan A. Young of the Texas Supreme Court.

Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton:  The Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton assumed the position of Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Saturday, May 1, 2021.  He succeeded Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr., who had served in the role since 2014.  Chief Judge Sutton, whose chambers are in Columbus, Ohio, is the eighteenth judge of the court to serve in this capacity.
 
Chief Judge Sutton was nominated to the court by President George Walker Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate in April 2003.  He earned his law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1990 and subsequently clerked for the Honorable Thomas Meskill of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as well as two Supreme Court Justices, the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and the Honorable Antonin Scalia.  Chief Judge Sutton was in private practice in Columbus from 1992 to 1995 and 1998 to 2003, and served as Solicitor General of Ohio from 1995 to 1998.  He has also served as an adjunct professor of law at the Ohio State University College of Law and as a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School.
 
Chief Judge Sutton has authored books and articles on a wide variety of topics, including two recent books on the importance of state constitutional law—51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law and Who Decides: States As Laboratories of Constitutional Experimentation.  Before his confirmation to the court, he argued twelve cases in the United States Supreme Court and numerous cases in the state supreme courts and the federal courts of appeal.  He served as the Chair of the Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure from 2012 to 2016, and served as the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.  In 2006, Judge Sutton was elected to the American Law Institute, and in 2017 he was elected to its Council.
 
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit maintains appellate jurisdiction over nine district courts in the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.  The court is authorized a complement of sixteen active judges and is headquartered at the Potter Stewart United States Courthouse, located in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Justice Evan A. Young:  Evan Young is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.  After law school, he clerked for Judge Wilkinson at the Fourth Circuit and Justice Scalia at the Supreme Court.  He then served as Counsel to the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorneys General Gonzales and Mukasey.  While on the Attorney General’s staff, he accepted a detail to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad where he was the Deputy Rule of Law Coordinator.  In that position he worked to assist the Iraqi government in its efforts to strengthen its legal regime, including, for example, its courts and prison system.  He returned to Texas in 2009 and entered private practice, which focused on trial and appellate litigation.  He argued cases before both the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Texas, as well as many federal and state appellate courts.  He left private practice on November 10, 2021, when he was sworn into office by Governor Greg Abbott.  Justice Young was elected to a full term in November 2022.