Hon. Joanne Alper ’72, Charles Gardner Geyh to discuss judicial independence during Orange Central
Would America’s judges better serve the cause of judicial independence if they openly aired their personal views? This question and other issues of judicial impartiality will be explored when the Hon. Joanne F. Alper ’72, circuit court judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Virginia, and Charles Gardner Geyh, one of the nation’s leading authorities on judicial ethics, present “Is the Best Defense a Good Offense? The Ethics and Politics of Allowing Judges to Advocate Controversial Views.”
This special discussion as part of Orange Central 2011 will take place Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the Tirico Room (250) in Newhouse 3.
The discussion is free and open to the public, but registration is required as part of the Orange Central events. Visit Orange Central registration. Free parking is available in the Waverly and Marion lots, and in the University Avenue Garage.
Elected officials, interest groups and the media often pressure judges to reveal information about their personal beliefs and to explain how these beliefs affect judicial decision making. Most judges refuse to respond to such pressure in an effort to maintain judicial independence and the appearance of impartiality. Are judges choosing the right path? Would judges better serve the cause of judicial independence if they openly aired their personal views?
Alper and Geyh will address these issues as part of the discussion moderated by Keith J. Bybee, the Paul E. and the Hon. Joanne F. Alper ’72 Judiciary Studies Professor at the College of Law, and director of the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media (IJPM) at Syracuse University. IJPM and the Tully Center for Free Speech at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications are co-sponsors of this Orange Central event.
Alper, distinguished SU alumna, trustee and sitting judge, has been with the 17th Judicial Circuit in Virginia since 1998. A magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The College of Arts and Sciences, she earned a juris doctor degree with honors from George Washington University Law School, then began her legal career as an associate, rising through the ranks to become a partner with Cohen, Gettings, Alper and Dunham.
She was a juvenile and domestic relations district judge and chief judge before being appointed to the circuit judgeship. She was a founding member and is current chair of the Arlington Bar Foundation. She was honored by the foundation with the 2010 William L. Winston Award, recognizing her longstanding public service.
A member of Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees since 2006, she is currently vice-chair and received the Dritz Trustee Award as the outstanding member of the board in 2010. She serves on the Syracuse University College of Law’s Board of Advisors, and she and her husband, Paul, have established the Paul E. and Hon. Joanne F. Alper ’72 Judiciary Studies Professorship at the College of Law. Alper was also instrumental in the creation of IJPM in 2006 as a first-of-its-kind academic institute devoted to the interdisciplinary study of issues at the intersection of law, politics and the media.
Geyh, John F. Kimberling Professor of Law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, focuses his teaching and scholarship on the operation of state and federal courts in relation to the political branches of government and the legal profession. He is the author of “When Courts and Congress Collide: The Struggle for Control of America’s Judicial System” (University of Michigan Press 2006), co-author of “Judicial Conduct and Ethics” (Fourth ed., Lexis Law Publishing 2007, with Alfini, Lubet and Shaman), and “Disqualification: An Analysis Under Federal Law (2d ed. Federal Judicial Center, forthcoming 2010). His work on judicial independence, accountability, administration and ethics has appeared in more than 40 books, articles, book chapters and reports.
Geyh currently chairs the editorial committee for the journal Judicature, and is director of the ABA Judicial Disqualification Project and has previously served as reporter to four ABA Commissions (the Joint Commission to Evaluate the Model Code of Judicial Conduct, the Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary, the Commission on the Public Financing of Judicial Campaigns and the Commission on the Separation of Powers and Judicial Independence). He has likewise served on the board of directors of the Justice at Stake Campaign; as reporter to the Constitution Project Task Force on the Distinction Between Intimidation and Legitimate Criticism of Judges; as director of the American Judicature Society’s Center for Judicial Independence; as consultant to the Parliamentary Development Project on Judicial Independence and Administration for the Supreme Rada of Ukraine; as assistant special counsel to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on the impeachment and removal of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen; as consultant to the National Commission on Judicial Discipline & Removal; and as legislative liaison to the Federal Courts Study Committee. He is a member of the American Law Institute.
Orange Central 2011 takes place Nov.10-13 on the SU campus and includes reunions, special events and Homecoming, all rolled into one exciting weekend. For more information on Orange Central and an up-to-the-minute schedule of events and activities, visit http://orangecentral.syr.edu. For questions, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 1-800-SUALUMS (782-5867) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
During Orange Central, Alper will also receive the George Arents Award—SU’s highest alumni honor. She will be presented the Arents Award for Excellence in Law.