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Renaming Law Schools, Military Bases, and Other Things

An Encounter with Chief Justice John Marshall, John Marshall Law School, and Constitutional Law

john marshall sculpture

Renaming Law Schools, Military Bases, and Other Things: An Encounter with Chief Justice John Marshall, John Marshall Law School, and Constitutional Law

Paul Finkelman, Ph.D., President of Gratz College
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
1:45 pm - 4:20 pm ET
GRATZ COLLEGE & ONLINE simultaneously

Hybrid 2-credit course (three 40-minute concurrent sessions with breaks) Registrants can participate in-person or on Zoom. If remote, Zoom camera must be on. At Gratz,  individuals may remove masks with proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Includes beverages and individually wrapped snacks.

In his book Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court (Harvard University Press) and a pair of articles in University of Chicago Law Review, Gratz President, Dr. Paul Finkelman, discovered that Chief Justice John Marshall spent almost his entire adult life buying (and sometimes selling) slaves. He owned more than 150 slaves at his death, and had probably owned more than 300 during his lifetime. This scholarship also showed that in all slavery cases where Marshall wrote the opinion of the Court, the court sided with slaveowners over slave plaintiffs (many of whom had been declared free in jury trials) and sided with people who violated the U.S. ban on the African slave trade. No previous scholar had examined these cases or Marshall’s personal involvement in slavery. In the wake of this scholarship, John Marshall Law School in Chicago changed its name, and Cleveland-Marshall law school is considering doing so. At the same time, the United States is changing the names of military bases named for Confederate generals. Some people attack these changes as “cancel culture.”  Others believe these changes are long overdue. Much of this is directly related to law and our understanding of the Constitution. This CLE will explore Marshall’s career as a slaveowner on the Supreme Court, raising issues of ethics, justice, morality, and the motivation of the Chief Justice. It will also consider how a society – and the legal profession – faces its own past and how that past affects our future.

One (1) Ethics and One (1) Substantive Credit

Attorney Summer Special: $72
Auditors: $25

More information: Dodi Klimoff, 215-635-7300 x133,

register here

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