Katia Faroun | Photo Editor
The Duquesne University School of Law invited students, faculty and the general public to a discussion about the history of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania this past Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The event took place in the Power Center Ballroom and included a presentation of the book, The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: Life and Law in the Commonwealth, 1684-2017. The book outlines the history of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from its creation to present day, including contributions from more than 40 writers.
The occasion also acted as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Amendments to Pennsylvania’s Constitution that expanded the rights of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The event featured appearances by Justice Thomas G. Saylor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; John Hare, editor of the book and Duquesne Law graduate; DU President Ken Gormley, writer of the book’s introduction; five authors or co-authors of the book and six current members of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
After introductions by Gormley and Maureen Lally-Green, dean of the Duquesne University School of Law, Justice Saylor kicked off the event by introducing the book and recognizing how it “covers milestones in our nation’s political history and highlights the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s integral involvement.” Saylor also acknowledged and thanked Hare, Gormley and the authors of the book for their contributions.
He was followed by Hare, who also thanked the contributors to the book and reflected on the process of gathering the expert knowledge needed for the book.
“I’m not going to be able to thank every amazing person that contributed,” Hare said. “You get the sense that this was a complete team effort.”
Gormley then provided the audience with an overview of the achievements of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Gormley elaborated on specific milestones in the court’s history that affected the U.S. as a whole, including its establishment of judicial review, its work against discrimination and its exposure of medical malpractice.
Gormley also emphasized the importance of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the foundations of the U.S. Supreme Court. In his overview of its history, Gormley stated that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court predated the U.S. Supreme Court and served as a significant model for its establishment.
“It was an honor to write the introduction for the book, and to participate in this first-rate tribute to the oldest sitting court in North America,” Gormley commented.
The last half of the event involved discussions on the additional powers of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania by various authors of the book, most notably including Hon. Renee Cohn Jubelirer, judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and Hon. Joseph Del Sole, retired judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The panel reviewed topics including the King’s Bench Powers, the 1968 Amendments to Pennsylvania’s Constitution, rule making within the Court and development and implementation of technology.
The event ended with statements and acknowledgements by current members of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, three of which are DU graduates, followed by an hour-long reception in the Shepherdson Suite, open to presenters and attendees.