Nebraska State Bar Foundation

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Veteran LRE Volunteers Among Honorees at Legacy of Liberty Breakfast

Little did Judge Lyle Strom know when presenting awards to long-term Mock Trial regional coordinators that he would be the next person to be recognized for his service of more than 15 years to the Nebraska High School Mock Trial Project. Chief Justice Mike Heavican, Nebraska Supreme Court did the honors and cited Strom's involvement with Mock Trial since 1996, when Strom was a judge at the State Championship.

The following year he was the presiding judge for the final round of competition that was telecast from NET studios in Lincoln. Since that time, the Chief said that Judge Strom has been "hooked" on Mock Trial and has in the intervening years served as presiding judge for all except one state championship and traveled to National Mock Trial to serve as a judge, and he served as Chair of the Bar Foundation's National High School Mock Trial Committee when hosting nationals in Omaha in 2001. The Omaha event was one of the most successful in recent Mock Trial nationals history, bringing more than 1,000 students, coaches, and parent to Nebraska for the event. Even with its great success, Judge Strom had quipped that he and Doris have a pact that they will never do that again!


Standing Bear Bust Unveiled, on Display at U.S. Courthouse

A bronze bust of Ponca Chief Standing Bear, sculpted by artist Ted Long, has been dedicated and placed on display on the first floor of the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse in Omaha.

On the afternoon of September 16, the bust, donated to the Bar Foundation, was unveiled in a ceremony at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse in Omaha. Judge Joe Bataillon presided over the ceremonies where there was a procession of judges in attendance. Representatives of Nebraska's Congressional delegation and several members of the Ponca Tribe were guests. Harley Upton, Ponca, opened the program with an honor song. Joe Starita, author of the Standing Bear biography, I Am a Man, addressed those gathered. Judge Cloyd Clark and Foundation President Kile Johnson did the honors of unveiling the bust before an audience of more than 100. Following the program, a reception was held in the Conference Room of the courthouse. The bust is on loan from the Foundation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.


Justice Clarence Thomas Celebrates Constitution Day with Lincoln and Omaha Students

It isn't everyday that high school students welcome a sitting Justice of the United States Supreme Court to their campus. But, on September 16, students at Lincoln High School and Omaha's Northwest Magnet Schools greeted Justice Clarence Thomas who spent more than an hour addressing the students and answering their questions.

At Lincoln High, Baccalaureate students and other students in upper level Social Studies classes filled the Ted Sorensen Theater where Justice Kenneth Stephan, Nebraska Supreme Court, introduced Thomas. Dr. Mike Wortman, Lincoln High Principal, made the arrangements for the Constitution Day assembly.

The Justice told the students that he never set a goal of serving on the Supreme Court. He explained that, at each age, he simply tried to do to his best ability whatever was set before him to do. He shared that one summer he had to teach himself Algebra 1 so he would be ready to take Algebra 2 when the school year started. Learning what is set before you, he explained, teaches you discipline. He likened the process to the course of study set before the Lincoln High students and encouraged them to do their best at each stage of their education. Being appointed to the Court only 24 years after graduating high school, Thomas asked the students, "Will you be ready after high school to do the same?"


Justice Clarence Thomas Chooses “Conversation” Format for Hruska Institute

At noon on September 15, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas took the stage in the Hamann Auditorium at the University of Nebraska College of Law, appearing as the distinguished guest for the 2011 Roman L. Hruska Institute. Joining Thomas were Professor Josephine Potuto, Professor Richard Duncan, and Assistant Professor Eric Berger who took turns asking questions of the Justice. Thomas explained that the more relaxed format for the exchange was the idea of his wife Virginia who is a Nebraska native.

Thomas was forthright when asked about his reputation for trying to discern the original meaning of the Constitution. He admitted to consulting dictionaries from the late 1700s, then turned the question around and asked, "What else am I supposed to do? Use a Ouija board? Chicken bones?"


Sculpture of Chief Standing Bear to Be Unveiled in Ceremony at Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse

Standing BearAt 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, September 16, a bronze sculpture of the bust of Ponca Chief Standing Bear will be unveiled at a ceremony at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse at 111 South 18th Plaza in Omaha. Chief Judge Joseph F. Bataillon will preside at the event, which will take place in Courtroom One on the fourth floor. Justice Clarence Thomas, United States Supreme Court, will be a distinguished guest at the unveiling.

The sculpture, an anonymous gift given to the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, will be on loan from the Foundation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska and will be on display on the first floor of the Hruska Courthouse. Bar Foundation President Kile W. Johnson will present the sculpture, and Judge Cloyd Clark of McCook will make remarks on behalf of the donor.

The historic case, Standing Bear vs. Crook, presented at the U.S. District Courthouse in Omaha in 1879, is noted for recognizing Native Americans as "persons within the meaning of the law."


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