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Legal Leaders Reenact Arguments in Famous Juvenile Justice Case

January 30, 2007 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

CHICAGO --- Best-selling author Scott Turow will be among distinguished lawyers and judges who will reenact the oral arguments that resulted in the 1967 landmark U.S. Supreme Court opinion that gave juveniles due process similar to that given to adult defendants.

“Gault at 40: the Promise of Justice for Children” will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave.

The reenactment of the Supreme Court opinion, known as In Re Gault, is sponsored by the Children and Family Justice Center, part of the law school's Bluhm Legal Clinic. It is free and open to the public.

The purpose of the reenactment is to focus attention on the historic impact of the Supreme Court's decision in In Re Gault and to spark an evaluation of the progress made in juvenile justice in the United States during the last 40 years.

The Supreme Court's decision in In Re Gault focused the nation's attention on the need to provide children with the same due process protections afforded adults and had a profound impact on the administration of juvenile justice. The decision required that lawyers be appointed for children in juvenile court, that children be given notice of charges and that juvenile delinquency proceedings adhere to due process standards.

The appellants were Paul L. Gault and Marjorie Gault, parents of Gerald Francis Gault, a minor at the time, and the state of Arizona argued against granting full federal constitutional protection to defendants of the juvenile court.

Turow will play the role of Abe Fortas, the Supreme Court justice who wrote the Gault decision and asked most of the questions during the arguments.

Stephen Presser, the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History at the School of Law, will play the role of Frank Parks, the then-assistant attorney general of Arizona.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke will play the role of Hugo Lafayette Black, one of the Supreme Court justices who concurred in the Gault decision. 

William J. Hibbler, judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and former presiding judge of the Juvenile Court of Cook County, will read the words of Earl Warren, one of the most famous Supreme Court justices of the 20th century. 

Ilana Rovner, judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, will play Potter Stewart, the only Supreme Court justice who did not concur with the Gault decision.

Randolph Stone, clinical professor, University of Chicago Law School, will present the arguments of the chief lawyer for the appellants, Norman Dorsen, New York University School of Law.

Uzoamaka Nzelibe, clinical assistant professor of law at Northwestern, will read the words of John Marshall Harlan II, another Supreme Court justice in the Gault case.

And Luis A. Pinedo, a 2006 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, will play the role of William Brennan Jr.

Topics: Campus Life