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On April 4, 2007, the Dedman School of Law hosted "Fair and Independent Courts: A Conference on Judicial Independence, Selection and Accountability." This important conference is one in a series of conferences on preserving a fair and independent judiciary; the first conference was held at Georgetown University Law Center in fall 2006. The goal of the SMU conference was to initiate discussion with leaders from the Texas business, legal, media, education and nonprofit sectors and to elicit suggestions for improving the administration of justice in both federal and state courts. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (Retired) spoke at this conference and Justice Stephen Breyer participated electronically.

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Justice Sandra Day O'Connor talks with Dedman School of Law alumni and students.

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The Dedman School of Law was honored to host a visit by ten members of the European Court of Justice in February 2007. Visiting Justices included:

President Vassilios Skouris; Justice Peter Jann; Justice Christiaan Timmermans; Justice Allan Rosas; Justice Koen Lenaerts; Justice Endre Juhász; Justice Ján Klučka; Justice Konrad Schiemann; First Advocate General Juliane Kokott; and Advocate General Miguel Pojares Maduro.

On February 19, 2007, President Skouris and the other European Justices led a fascinating discussion about the European Court of Justice and responded to several insightful questions from faculty and students who packed the Hillcrest Room. The Justices engaged in discussions held in Karcher Auditorium with Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court and other members of this court, including Justices David Medina, Paul Green, Dale Wainwright, former Chief Justice Thomas Phillips, and former Justice James Baker. Also joining in these discussions were SMU Dedman School of Law Professors Bill Dorsaneo, Jeff Kahn and Jenia Turner. During their visit, the ECJ Justices also attended events hosted by the Dallas Bar Association, the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

The Justices left Dallas the next day and flew to Washington, D.C. to participate in a series of discussions with members of the Supreme Court of the United States and facilitated by a number of SMU law faculty. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito participated in one or more of the events held at the Supreme Court. Participating faculty included Dean John Attanasio, and Professors Bill Dorsaneo, Lackland Bloom, Jeff Gaba, Ndiva Kofele-Kale, George Martinez, Xuan-Thao Nguyen and Jeff Kahn, and Yale law faculty member Donald Elliott. The ECJ also held discussions with Chief Judge Paul R. Michel and Judges Pauline Newman, Randall Rader and Arthur J. Gajarsa, of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Justices of the ECJ held discussions with Judges David Sentelle, Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanaugh, and Senior Judge Stephen Williams, of the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The ECJ was also hosted for dinners by the Ambassador of the European Delegation and the European Institute. The last event of the visit was a meeting at the Brookings Institute.

We are deeply grateful to the Carrington Lecture Fund, the Lee Trust Fund, and the Murrah Lecture Fund for sponsoring this visit of the European Court of Justice to the United States, including their meetings with the Supreme Court of the United States.

We are delighted that several papers from the ECJ will be published as a symposium in a forthcoming issue of The International Lawyer.

Below are some of the photos from this event.

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Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court of the United States and President Vassilios Skouris of the European Court of Justice.

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During their visit to the SMU Dedman School of Law, Justices from the European Court of Justice participated in a panel discussion about the ECJ with SMU law students and faculty at a lunch lecture in the Hillcrest Classroom. President Vassilios Skouris of the European Court of Justice gave an opening presentation and the panel took questions from students and faculty afterwards.

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The delegation with Justices from the Supreme Court of Texas, Judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Professors from the SMU Dedman School of Law.

More Photos from the Summit with the European Court of Justice

Other Summits and Major Events