Exploring legal history: Jonathan Lippman to feature in program on Justice Frankfurter

November 30, 2023 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
Justice Felix Frankfurter: A pioneering legal mind and advocate of judicial self-restraint, remembered for his profound influence on the U.S. Supreme Court.Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of the NY Courts
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The Historical Society of the New York Courts is set to present a captivating Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program, titled “Justice Felix Frankfurter and the Idea of Judicial Self-Restraint: Then and Now in Federal and State Courts.” 

This event is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. and will be accessible both in-person at the New York City Bar Association, located at 42 West 44th Street, NYC, and online via Zoom.

The program, which is free and open to the public, explores the judicial philosophy and enduring impact of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. 

The event will kick off with insights from Frankfurter’s biographer on his New York origins, followed by a panel discussion with notable legal experts. 

The panel will delve into Frankfurter’s interpretation of judicial restraint and its relevance in today’s decision-making in federal and state courts, particularly the U.S. Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals.

Participants in this distinguished program include Prof. John Q. Barrett, Prof. Brad Snyder, Hon. Jonathan Lippman, Hon. Barbara Underwood and Dean Troy A. McKenzie. The event will be inaugurated with welcome remarks by Henry Greenberg, past president of the NYS Bar Association.

Greenberg highlighted the timeliness and significance of the event, noting the national prominence of the speakers, including a former chief judge of the State of New York and the solicitor general of the State of New York. The discussion is expected to shed light on the current legal discourse concerning the balance between judicial restraint and activism in interpreting constitutions, both state and federal.

“The participants are figures of national renown,” Greenberg said. “They include the former chief judge of the State of New York, the solicitor general of the State of New York, the dean of one of America’s leading law schools, and two preeminent legal historians. The degree of restraint or activism that is appropriate when construing a constitution — state and federal — is a burning legal question of our times.”

The Historical Society of the New York Courts, a non-profit organization founded in 2002 by then NYS Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, aims to preserve and promote the legal history of New York. The society organizes various educational and public programs and publications to enhance the understanding of New York’s legal heritage and the rule of law.


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