Irish justice visits Indy

March 16, 2009
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From IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger:

While it’s one thing to hear from a law school that it is internationally recognized,

it’s a little different to hear that from the Chief Justice of Ireland. “I was glad to be back at the law school,” Supreme Court of Ireland Chief Justice John L. Murray told Indiana Lawyer before getting on a plane to head home. He had visited Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis’ Program in International Human Rights Law in March 2005, and said he was happy to return for the law school’s annual James P. White lecture March 10.

“The school has a very good reputation. I was granted the opportunity and privilege to do this lecture,” he said, adding it was “gratifying to see members of federal and state judiciary” in attendance.

At the talk, he explained from a European standpoint the role of what he referred to as “super-national” courts: the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg, and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. He has served as counsel in cases before both courts.

He acknowledged there is no real comparison in the U.S. system, not even how the U.S. Supreme Court is over the state courts. One way he explained how the “super-national courts” work for Americans in the room was to imagine a court of all the countries of North America and South America that would have to decide a case as controversial as Roe v. Wade not based on a majority, but based on a consensus – no easy feat.

While this may have been difficult for some audience members to grasp after only an hour of discussion, the topic of international courts can’t be ignored.

“The globalization of ideas has affected justice by the phenomenon of ready access to opinions and judgments from judges and professors from around the world, particularly those with democracies that have written constitutions,” he said.

He also met with federal and state judges at a private luncheon March 10.

While there, he said he was impressed when he learned how Indiana handles case management issues and mediation, something he said was “very useful,” and can serve as “fine inspiration for solutions to (similar) problems in Ireland’s courts.”

During his time in Indianapolis, he also took a tour of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

“It’s one of the nicest art museums I have ever visited,” he said. “The works you have here are quite spectacular. I was hugely impressed by the impressionists and post-impressionists.” The last time he was in Indianapolis, the IMA was undergoing renovations.

Chief Justice Murray is just one of many international judges to visit Indianapolis, including November 2008 visits from Australian and Ukrainian judges.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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