Theodore M. Shaw to Deliver Keynote Talk on Civil Rights at Chicago Campus King Day Celebration

January 15, 2008

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Theodore M. Shaw, director-counsel and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights law firm, will be the keynote speaker at Northwestern University’s 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Monday, Jan. 21, on the University’s Chicago campus.

Northwestern has suspended classes on both campuses that day for a University-wide, full-day observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The celebration will include a series of events and talks, which are free and open to the public.

Shaw will present his keynote talk during a noon celebration in Thorne Auditorium at Northwestern Law, 375 E. Chicago Ave. The program will include a musical commemoration by the guest gospel music group G3 and remarks from the deans of both the University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the School of Law.

Shaw’s talk will be preceded by a 10 a.m. mock oral argument, also taking place at Thorne Auditorium, featuring teams of students and professors re-arguing the recent Supreme Court desegregation case, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. A few 7th Circuit Court District Judges will serve on a panel as Supreme Court Justices.

Following Shaw’s appearance, a 2 p.m. medical panel on “Racialized Medicine” will take place in the Hughes Auditorium of the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 E. Superior St. The purpose of the panel is to explore whether race can be quantified for valuable use in science and medicine. The afternoon medical panel is co-sponsored by the School of Law and the School of Medicine.

The panel discussion will be followed by a 4 p.m. public reception in the atrium outside the auditorium.

Shaw joined LDF in 1982. He directed LDF’s education docket and litigated school desegregation, capital punishment, and other civil rights cases throughout the country. In 1987, he established LDF’s Western Regional Office in Los Angeles, and served as its Western Regional Counsel. In 1990, he left LDF to join the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School, where he taught constitutional law, civil procedure, and civil rights. In 1993, on a leave of absence from Michigan, he rejoined LDF as associate director-counsel.

Shaw was lead counsel in a coalition that represented African-American and Latino student-intervenors in the University of Michigan undergraduate affirmative action admissions case. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard that case, along with one challenging the use of affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School. The Court ruled in favor of diversity as a compelling state interest.

Shaw graduated from Wesleyan University with honors and from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Charles Evans Hughes Fellow. Upon graduation, Shaw worked as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice from 1979 until 1982. He litigated civil rights cases throughout the country at the trial and appellate levels, and in the U.S. Supreme Court. Shaw resigned from the Justice Department in protest of the Reagan Administration’s civil rights policies.

Shaw has testified before Congress and before state legislatures on numerous occasions. He has been a frequent guest on television and radio programs, and has published numerous newspaper, magazine and law review articles.

The full schedule of Chicago campus King Day events is listed below. The Chicago campus celebration is presented by the DREAM committee in collaboration with the School of Law and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Law firm Kaye Scholer LLP is sponsoring the events.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
Northwestern University Chicago Campus


10–11:30 a.m.,
Thorne Auditorium, 375 East Chicago Avenue
Mock Supreme Court Oral Argument: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District
Teams of students and professors will reargue the key points of the recent Supreme Court desegregation case.

Following the presentation, a light lunch will be provided in Thorne Lobby.

Noon–1:30 p.m.
Thorne Auditorium, 375 East Chicago Avenue
Commemoration and Musical Performance

Musical performance by G3

Welcome Remarks
David E. Van Zandt, Dean, Northwestern University School of Law
J. Larry Jameson, Lewis Landsberg Dean, Feinberg School of Medicine

Recitation of King Speech
DREAM Committee Members

Introductory Remarks
Audra Wilson, Director, Diversity Education and Outreach, Northwestern Law

Theodore Shaw, Director and General Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

2–3:30 p.m.
Hughes Auditorium, Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 East Superior Street
Panel discussion: Racialized Medicine
What are the Implications of Considering Race When Providing Medical Care?

Reception to follow.

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