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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