Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Celia G. Gamrath appointed to Chiola vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Celia G. Gamrath to the 8th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas R. Chiola.

Gamrath is currently a partner with Schiller, DuCanto & Fleck LLP. Gamrath joined that firm in 1998, after a stint as law clerk to then-Appellate Court Justice Thomas R. Rakowski. A 1994 graduate of John Marshall Law School, where she served as lead articles editor of the law review, Gamrath did her undergraduate work at Indiana University, receiving a business degree in 1991. (Her firm bio notes that Gamrath also had a minor in Spanish at IU.)

Gamrath served on the United States Magistrate Judge Merit Review (in 2008) and Magistrate Selection Panel (in 2007 and 2009) for the Northern District of Illinois. She has served on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness since 2004.

Gamrath also served as the President of the Justinian Society of Lawyers in 2006-07. She co-chair the Chicago Bar Association's Alliance for Women in 1999-2000 and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation since 2004 (and has served as Secretary since 2007).

A member of the Assembly of the Illinois State Bar Association since 1997, Gamrath also served on the ISBA's Board of Governors from 2005-2008. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the John Marshall Law School since 2007 (Secretary since 2008) and was President of the Law School Alumni Association in 2003-04.

Gamrath's appointment is effective June 10 and will expire on December 3, 2012.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Protection principle provides framework for handling terror cases?

The arrest of Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad raises anew the question of how and where to try accused terrorists.

Shahzad is a naturalized American citizen, and it seems a virtual certainty that he will be tried in a 'civilian' federal court. This seems particularly likely in light of the Obama administration's promise late last year to try alleged 9/11 mastermind (and Kuwaiti native) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the Southern District of New York -- although the government has retreated from this position somewhat since. (Recently, Attorney General Holder said that there has been no final decision about where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's trial will take place or even whether it will be held in a civilian court. Sources: Jake Tapper, ABC News, mystateline.com.)

But, sadly, as Shahzad's case reminds us, there will be other terror attempts. And, if Shahzad is an American citizen, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the "Underwear Bomber") was not.

An article by Philip Hamburger, the Maurice & Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, Beyond Protection, 109 Colum. L. Rev. 1823 (Dec. 2009), looks to the principle of "protection" for a way to explain why it may well be appropriate to handle Shazad and Abdulmutallab differently. As the summary of the article explains, "Under the principle of protection, as understood in early American law, allegiance and protection were reciprocal. As a result, a person without allegiance was without protection, including the protection of the law. Not owing allegiance, such a person had no obligation to obey American law; moreover, not having protection, he had no rights under such law." In other words, the government has different obligations to citizens who engage in terrorism as opposed to foreigners who try to commit terrorist acts in this country. Explains Hamburger, "The principle thereby permits the nation to defend itself without having to compromise civil liberties." (109 Colum. L. Rev. at 1833.)

I do not pretend to have read the article. I was attracted to it, though, by an article about Professor Hamburger's article appearing in the current issue of the Wilson Quarterly.

Elected judges not "more biased or incompetent than their appointed counterparts"

That's the position taken by Eric Posner, the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, in the May 17 issue of Newsweek.

Professor Posner writes that ongoing research, in which he and colleagues from Duke and New York Universities are engaged, supports this conclusion. Elected state court judges, says Posner, are more productive than their appointed brothers and sisters (as measured by the numbers of opinions produced), "nearly as professionally respected (as measured by citations per opinion), and no less independent (as measured by their willingness to disagree with judges in their own party)."

Posner's bottom line: "[A]s long as judges, like politicians, have the power to shape law through their decisions and interpretations, they must be accountable to their communities."