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September 8, 2003

Prominent Appellate Judge to Discuss One of the Most Contentious Issues in the Supreme Court Today: Congressional Power vs. States' Rights

Editor's note: To arrange interviews with Judge Noonan, contact Laurie Fenlason at (413) 585-2190 or

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- The Honorable Judge John Noonan, one of the best known circuit judges in the country and a respected legal scholar, will discuss recent Supreme Court decisions limiting congressional power in deference to states' rights. His lecture, titled "The Progeny of Marbury vs. Madison," will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, in Neilson Library Browsing Room. It is free and open to the public.

Appointed to the appellate court in 1985, Judge Noonan is United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a district covering the nine western states, including Arizona, Alaska, Idaho and Hawaii. His opinions include "Midler v. Ford Motor Co.," establishing the right of a performer to sue for commercial imitation of her voice; "Lazo-Majano v. Immigration and Naturalization Service," upholding political asylum for a persecuted woman from El Salvador; and "Harris v. Vasquez," staying the execution of Robert Alton Harris.

Prior to appointment to the bench, Judge Noonan taught law at the University of Notre Dame and the University of California, Berkeley. He is Robbins Professor of Law, emeritus, at the University of California. He has also been a visiting professor of law at Boston College, Harvard, Southern Methodist, and Stanford, and has given the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Lectures at Harvard Law School.

Judge Noonan is the author of six major legal works: "Persons and Masks of the Law," a study of the effects of the legal system on people's lives; "Bribes," a history of the ideal of integrity in government; "The Believer and the Powers that Are," a study of the interaction of government and religion; "The Responsible Judge," a pioneering study in judicial ethics; "The Lustre of Our Country: The American Experience of Religious Freedom"; and "Narrowing the Nation's Power: The Supreme Court Sides with the States." He is co-author with Richard Painter of "Professional and Personal Responsibilities of the Lawyer. "


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
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