U.S. District Court announces bicentennial events, including CLE at Duquesne in Oct. 2018

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced this month that in honor of its 2018 bicentennial, it will be hosting a series of events celebrating the District Court's rich history and influence within the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The Bicentennial Event Series will kick off on February 7, 2018 at 3 p.m., with a panel discussion of important civil rights developments in the District. Timed to honor African American History Month and co-sponsored by the Homer S. Brown Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association, the Civil Rights Program will discuss the District's school desegregation cases, including the contentious "Hoots" case which resulted in the formation of the Woodland Hills School District. Also slated for discussion is the significant work of the Honorable Paul Allen Simmons, prior to his ascension to the bench, in the area of equal protection, as well as the role of the District Court in race relations. The Civil Rights Program will be held at the Joseph F. Weis, Jr. U.S. Courthouse. Professor Tracey McCants Lewis will moderate the February 7 continuing legal education program.

Following the Civil Rights Program, on June 1, 2018, the District Courthouse will again open its doors for a full day of spirited legal discussion centered on the theme of "A Celebration of Liberty and Justice for All." The program will consist of four separate panels comprised of sitting and retired judges of the District Court, Bankruptcy Court, and Third Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as distinguished legal scholars. Topics to be discussed include the history of the District Court, notable civil liberties and criminal cases, and the area's economic issues as addressed by the Bankruptcy Court. Commemorating the day's events, the District Court is pleased to welcome Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., who will deliver remarks during the midday luncheon.

In the third installment of the series, the District Court will partner with Duquesne University for an examination of one of Major League Baseball's most infamous scandals-the drug trials of 1985. To be held at Duquesne University's Power Center on October 11, 2018, the program will bring together legal professionals involved in the cases for a discussion of the events precipitating the filing of charges, case strategy, and the progression of litigation. Enhancing the discussion, participants will offer personal anecdotes of their experiences and a display of case-related memorabilia will be available for viewing.

Closing out the Bicentennial Event Series, in December the District Court will offer a rare chance to step back in time as it presents a reenactment of court proceedings as they would have occurred in 1818. In addition to what will surely be an entertaining event, the reenactment will provide attendees with a unique perspective as to what has or has not changed in the practice of law since the inception of the District Court.

CLE credit will be available and a reception will follow each of the four programs. Commenting on the significance of the Bicentennial Event Series, Chief District Judge Joy Flowers Conti remarked: "In 2018 the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania will have been serving the interests of justice in Western Pennsylvania for 200 years. Throughout that time this Court has been served by dedicated judges, clerks, staff, and court personnel. We are reminded daily about the importance of equal justice under law and strive to meet the needs of our community. We will be celebrating our court's birthday throughout 2018 and we hope those that we serve will join us in our celebrations."

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