Circuit judge relocating chambers to Maurer School of Law

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In a rare move that may be used in only one other jurisdiction nationally, Judge David F. Hamilton on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago plans to relocate his chambers from the Indianapolis courthouse where he’s from to the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington.

Since taking the appellate bench in November, Judge Hamilton has kept his chambers in the Southern District of Indiana. But space has become tight in the federal courthouse in Indianapolis and forced Judge Hamilton to reconsider his chambers there.

In an announcement today, the law school and Judge Hamilton said the arrangement is expected to give law students first-hand exposure to the judicial system and be a learning opportunity in both directions.

“It is unusual, and a little complicated as a result,” Judge Hamilton said. “This building is getting crowded enough and it became clear that I’d have to move out of this courthouse, at least. In theory, I could have disrupted and displaced others in this building. But that’s disruptive and unnecessary, and not in the best interest for the District Court, so we were looking at other options.”

Judge Hamilton travels to Chicago about twice a month, usually for three days a time, but lives closer to Bloomington where the law school is located, he said. Federal court policy dictated that he consider courthouse space first if it was available, but this became a possibility because of Judge Hamilton’s and his wife’s roots.

An emeritus member of the Board of Visitors who’s taught a federal court clinic and also served on the school’s Center for Constitutional Democracy, Judge Hamilton credits the idea to his wife, Inge Van der Cruysse, who’s a graduate and former development officer at IU Maurer School of Law. She first mentioned it last year, and the judge began exploring it with his longtime friend Dean Lauren Robel, who he’d clerked with at the 7th Circuit in the early 1980s.

Both the federal government and law school have been working out the logistical and operational details, he said. Judge Hamilton expects the move will be complete by the end of 2010, and he’s working with the law school to explore ways that everyone can most benefit from his experience and judicial work.

“People who say this job is isolating are absolutely right,” Judge Hamilton said. “So I’m looking forward to having a law school office, where I can be some sort of member of the law school community.”

The experience will also be beneficial for his law clerks, who will have the chance to attend law school lectures and events and be able to participate there – particularly for those clerks who’ve graduated from the law school or undergraduate programs, he said.

IU Maurer School of Law officials couldn’t immediately verify how rare this type of arrangement is, but it appears to only be used in one other Circuit jurisdiction throughout the country: the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, where two appellate judges relocated their chambers to space at Yale Law School. Those two are Judges Ralph Winter and Guido Calabresi, both now serving in senior capacities.


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.