Childress Issue

Richard J. Childress Memorial Lecture

The Childress Lecture, named in honor of former Dean Richard J. Childress (1969-1976), is a premier academic event highlighting a provocative and timely area of law. The lecture commemorates the contributions Dean Childress made academically, ethically, and socially to benefit the Saint Louis University School of Law. Among other achievements, Dean Childress is credited with founding the Saint Louis University Law Journal.

For more information about the Volume 61 Childress issue, please email Caroline Leritz, Childress Managing Editor. To obtain copies, please view our Subscription Form.

Indigence and the Criminal Justice System
October 7, 2016
John K. Pruellage Courtroom

While Americans are increasingly aware of issues involving law enforcement agencies and communities of color, less attention has been paid to the courts to which those arrested are sent after being taken into custody. In that system, numerous discretionary decisions are made by prosecutors, such as whether to file charges; whether a high bail be set so the accused remains in jail; what charges to bring; whether to seek enhanced penalties such as the death penalty, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or a mandatory minimum of years in prison; whether to make a plea offer and what offer to make; what information to disclose to the defense; and whether to strike prospective jurors based on race during jury selection. Most of the discretionary decisions are made by white men, even though virtually all the people appearing before some criminal courts are people of color. The event will feature keynote speaker Stephen Bright followed by two panel presentations on the topic.

Religious Freedom, Social Justice and Public Policy
November 13, 2015
John K. Pruellage Courtroom

Same sex couples have won the constitutional right to be married under conditions of equality and dignity. All couples have long had the right to engage in birth control. And experiences like the recent outbreak of measles in California have strengthened the resolve of states to insist on vaccinations. But some individuals and groups have set themselves against each of these legal developments, insisting that their religious beliefs entitle them to disobey laws that others must obey. This year’s Childress Memorial Lecture by Lawrence Sager will ask how these headline-grabbing clashes should be resolved.

Federalism & Nationalism: Who Counts?
October 25, 2014
John K. Pruellage Courtroom

There has been a long and not-so-merry war between proponents of federalism and nationalists. 2014 Childress Memorial Lecture keynote speaker Professor Heather Gerken argued that now is the time for a détente between the warring sides. Those on both sides of the debate have an outdated idea of what “Our Federalism” looks like today. As a result, many of the debates in the field are beside the point, and it would be better for scholars to direct their considerable energies at different questions than the ones they have traditionally pursued. Professor Gerken questioned whether it’s possible to have a “nationalist school of federalism” and described what each side needs to give up in order for a détente to succeed.

Who Counts?
November 1, 2013
John K. Pruellage Courtroom

The 2013 Childress Program addressed generally who is to be counted as a member of the American political community. Professor Sanford V. Levinson, the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair at the University of Texas School of Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and a leading scholar of constitutional law, addressed this question by examining controversies from various periods of the history of the United States to the present. Following the keynote address, two panels of leading scholars commented on Professor Levinson’s lecture, and discussed other themes relating to who counts in American politics. The 2013 Childress Program was also a part of an inaugural year of events celebrating the new downtown location of the law school and the first year of the deanship of Mike Wolff, a long-time faculty member and former judge on the Missouri Supreme Court.

Statutory Interpretation
October 12, 2012
William H. Kniep Courtroom

The 2012 Childress Program focused generally on statutory interpretation and the divergent means through which statutes re interpreted in a contemporary content. Professor William Eskridge, Jr., the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School, will address the hermeneutical difficulties embedded in positivist theories of statutory interpretation. Following the keynote address, two panels of scholars will comment on Professor Eskridge’s lecture, or will discuss other themes relating to statutory interpretation. A panel of distinguished judges will also offer perspectives on the topic.

Justice Systems Circa 2011: Public Courts, Military Commissions and Aggregate Processing
November 11, 2011
William H. Kniep Courtroom

The 2011 Childress program focuses on contemporary issues relating to “Justice Systems Circa 2011: Public Courts, Military Commissions and Aggregate Processing.” Professor Judith Resnik of the Yale Law School will draw from themes presented in her recent book, co-authored with Dennis Curtis, Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms, in delivering the keynote presentation, “Invention and Challenges in Democratic Courts.” Following commentaries on Professor Resnik’s book by leading scholars, additional panels will present perspectives of prominent scholars, practitioners and jurists on “Military Commissions: From Ex Parte Quirin to Guantanamo Bay” and “Aggregate Processing: Wal-Mart, A.T. & T. and Aggregate Settlements and the 2009 ALI Principles.”