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Professionals Remain Religious and Retain Professionalism?
Martha L. Minow, Professor at Harvard Law School, delivered “The Religious Professional: What Role Should Religious Commitment Play in the Work of Lawyers and Doctors” as the annual Owen J. Roberts Memorial Lecturer in February. Stating that she was “humbled by this topic,” Minow shaped her talk around two questions: when there is a conflict between religion and norms for lawyers and doctors, which should prevail? And, in the absence of direct conflict what are the benefits for society of professionals who rely on their religion in their decisions? Professor Minow is a leading scholar on the legal treatment of children, women, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and members of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities. The Owen J. Roberts Lecture is supported by an endowment from the law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhoads and is sponsored by the Order of the Coif and the Penn Law Alumni Society.
Judicial Independence at the Crossroads:
An Interdisciplinary Look at the Courts
Stephen B. Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice and Barry Friedman, a constitutional law professor from NYU School of Law, were hosts for a conference examining judicial independence March 31-April 1, 2001 at the Law School. Co-sponsored by Penn Law, the American Judicature Society and the Brennan Center for Justice, “Judicial Independence at the Crossroads: Developing an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda” brought together some 40 leading scholars from different disciplines. The conference posed an essential question to the scholars: “What do we mean when we talk about ‘judicial independence?’” In addition participants were asked to question common wisdom on the subject. In notes for a forthcoming volume that will include papers from the conference, Burbank and Friedman wrote: “Believing that the debate over judicial independence has produced more heat than light, and that scholars in different disciplines have been talking past one another, we convened a conference of prominent academics with backgrounds spanning four disciplines to discuss what we know, and ought to know, about judicial independence. A fundamental premise of the meeting was that, despite the appearance that the ground of judicial independence has been plowed and re-plowed, in fact we know far less about the subject than we should. The working sessions confirmed our intuition, producing a flood of good ideas and more rigorous thinking on the subject than one encounters in existing literature on the subject.” Through six sessions over two days, research papers were presented in an informal format that inspired a rolling discussion and a lively atmosphere. Sessions were organized around the subjects: Public Opinion and Judicial Independence; Truths and Myths about Judicial Independence; The Respective Roles of Formal and Informal Rules in Determining Judicial Independence; The Role of Courts, Judges and Law in Judicial Independence; Judicial Independence for What?; and The Promise and Problems of Comparative Perspectives.
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