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United States SealChief Justice
John G. Roberts, Jr.   
Visits The Pioneer Courthouse

Justice Roberts signing the guestbook at The Pioneer Courthouse
Justice Roberts signing the guestbook at The Pioneer Courthouse

On April 4, 2013 the 17th Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr., honored the Portland legal community by visiting Lewis & Clark Law School and the Historic Pioneer Courthouse, home to three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Dean Robert Klonoff of the Law School and Ninth Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain coordinated a visit for Chief Justice Roberts that included his presiding at the inaugural Lewis & Clark Environmental Law Moot Court Advocate of the Year competition.

The Chief Justice was greeted at the law school mid-morning by Dean Klonoff and toured the law school campus and visited several classes. Professors Aliza Kaplan, Steve Johansen, and Sandy Patrick and their students were completely surprised, as no advance notice was given even to the professors of the Chief Justice’s visit to the classrooms. Chief Justice Roberts had asked Dean Klonoff to provide seating charts ahead of time so he could call on students by name. After quizzing students on the subject matter himself, he fielded questions from students about appellate level brief writing and oral argument.

Judge O’Scannlain, Chief Justice Roberts, and Judge Leavy
Judge O’Scannlain, Chief Justice Roberts, and Judge Leavy explore the Attorney’s Waiting Room
Judge O’Scannlain treats Chief Justice Roberts to lunch in his chamber
Judge O’Scannlain treats Chief Justice Roberts to lunch in his chambers (Pictured from left to right: Dean Robert Klonoff, Judge O’Scannlain, Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Leavy)

After departing the law school, the Chief Justice arrived at the historic Pioneer Courthouse around midday when Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain greeted him and they were joined by Judge Edward Leavy and Dean Klonoff for lunch in Judge O’Scannlain’s chambers. Judge Susan Graber was out of town on judicial business. Lunch was prepared by Ms. Brenda Hart, Judicial Assistant to Judge O’Scannlain and included local dishes such as Columbia River salmon, farm fresh vegetables and cornbread with Oregon huckleberry jam. Afterward Judge O’Scannlain led the Chief Justice on a tour of the Courthouse along with Judge Leavy, Dean Klonoff, and Robert Walch, Senior Deputy Clerk for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge O’Scannlain pointed out and discussed the interpretive panels placed throughout the building illustrating the history of the United States Courts, the Ninth Circuit, and the building itself. Chief Justice Roberts admired the portraits of predecessor and current Ninth Circuit Judges, the restored second floor courtroom, the library, and the historic lobby, pausing briefly to sign the courthouse guest book. During the tour the Chief Justice also visited Judge Leavy’s and Judge Graber’s chambers, meeting and posing for photographs with the Judges’ law clerks and courthouse staff along the way.

In the evening, Chief Justice Roberts was joined by Judge O’Scannlain and United States District Court Judge Anna Brown in judging an oral argument presented by three Lewis & Clark law students competing for Environmental Law Moot Court Advocate of the Year. This competition was designed to pit teammates from the School’s highly successful Environmental Law Moot Court team against each other in a showcase of student’s hard work and talent in front of the rest of the Law School and local legal community. The competition was held in The Agnes Flanagan Chapel on the School’s campus. Seats were scarce as students and professors alike were excited to see their moot court participants stand and argue in front of the Chief Justice of the United States and esteemed local judges. The competitors were calm and collected under tough questioning from the panel and in the end the Chief Justice delivered both praise and constructive criticism to each of the three competitors. Judge O’Scannlain and Judge Brown also had very positive things to say about the competitors’ performance. Judge Brown, an alumnus of Lewis & Clark Law School expressed her pride in the performance of the students of her Alma Mater. Judge O’Scannlain declared that the competitors would hold their own amongst the top echelon of attorneys who appear before the Ninth Circuit and invited each of them to participate in the Ninth Circuit’s pro bono program.

After the competition Chief Justice Roberts joined a reception, where students lined up to engage him in conversation. A dinner was held after the reception where the Chief Justice, Judge O’Scannlain and Judge Brown and other members of the Judiciary and the Bar dined with the moot court competitors, their families, Law School faculty and members of the Lewis & Clark board and alumni community.

Press Coverage I

Lewis & Clark Law School Showcases Top Students With Help From U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts

By Scott Learn, The Oregonian (Reprinted with permission) April 4th, 2013

Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Leavy, and Judge O’Scannlain viewing Robert Walch’s office
Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Leavy, and Judge O’Scannlain viewing Robert Walch’s office
Chief Justice Roberts with Judge O’Scannlain and his chambers staff
Chief Justice Roberts with Judge O’Scannlain and his chambers staff
(Pictured from left to right: Brenda Hart, Ryan Walsh, Brittney Lane, Chief Justice Roberts, Alexander Maugeri, Hans Huggler, Judge O’Scannlain)
Chief Justice Roberts with Judge Graber’s chambers staff
Chief Justice Roberts with Judge Graber’s chambers staff
(Pictured from left to right: Jane Glenn, Kent Piacenti, Chief Justice Roberts, Jamey Harris, Daniel Mach)
Judge Leavy, Chief Justice Roberts, and Judge O’Scannlain in the courtroom
Judge Leavy, Chief Justice Roberts, and Judge O’Scannlain in the courtroom

The court panel judging three of Lewis & Clark Law School's top students Thursday evening was typical in a lot of ways: The judges wore black robes. They asked aggressive questions. They interrupted quite a bit.

But the judge occupying the center seat was the 17th chief justice of the United States.

John Roberts came to the Portland campus from Washington, D.C., to help the law school inaugurate its Environmental Moot Court Advocate of the Year competition. It pitted three soon-to-be lawyers who were on the same team in February when they placed second among 75 schools at nationals in New York.

Law school Dean Robert Klonoff wanted a local academic competition to showcase the moot court students. In the past seven years, Lewis & Clark's contingent has hit the top three every time and placed first three times nationally. So he set up what will be an annual in-house competition -sort of like "The Hunger Games," the students joked.

Klonoff got to know Roberts and his chief of staff when they all worked in the U.S. Capitol. The chief justice accepted the invitation last fall, generating what Klonoff thinks is the first visit from a sitting chief justice to an Oregon law school.

Roberts joined Judge Anna Brown of the U.S. District Court for Oregon and Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the panel, set up as a fictional “12th Circuit” to hear a fictional but complex Clean Water Act case.

The panelists didn't pull punches. But if it was intimidating, students Maggie Hall, Meredith Price and Andy Erickson didn't show it, even though they were arguing before an audience of 500 in the school's chapel.

The moot court case included a golf course developer who dredged in a wetland and built an island green in a pond. A homeowners association whose flood risk rose as a result sued. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency got involved, too.

Roberts pounced rhetorically on Price, who represented the developers and argued that a 10 percent increase in flood risk wasn't enough to warrant a lawsuit.

If I expose you to a hazardous chemical, asbestos, and it gives you a 10 percent chance of mortality that was zero before, that's not injury? he asked.

That's not the right analogy, she told Roberts. In the context of a natural risk, something based clearly on Mother Nature, that's where the line can be drawn, she said.

Price, 27, grew up in Eugene and worked for Intel before heading to law school. She helped work on a recent Clean Water Act case brought by the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, based at the law school. She already has a job lined up after she graduates in May, clerking for U.S. District Judge Michael Simon in Portland.

(Spoiler alert: She won.)

Erickson, 27, represented the EPA. He's going to work for an Alaska Supreme Court justice when he graduates. He grew up in Missoula, Mont., which came in handy when the judges noted that the wetland was a mile from the river that was supposed to see increased flood risk.

Isn't it a bit of a stretch to say that the wetland met the statutory definition of a "neighbor to the river, Roberts asked.

Judge Brown chimed in: It's like Montana being a neighbor of Washington, despite that thing called the Idaho panhandle.

Well, it's a pretty common thing in northwest Montana, Erickson said, that a neighbor is a mile away. All the judges smiled.

Hall, 26, stuck up for the homeowners' right to sue under the Clean Water Act, a live issue in the courts these days. She's planning to go into public interest environmental law, so she'll probably make those arguments again.

The judges wondered why the homeowners needed to sue, considering that the EPA was already on the case. But Roberts noted that the EPA had argued against the homeowners being involved in one part of the case.

They threw you under the bus once, Roberts said. They might do it again.

Exactly! Hall said.

That was helpful, Hall said afterward. I was not doing well on that question.

Lewis & Clark is one of the nation's top schools for environmental law. The students put in dozens of practice rounds with various Lewis & Clark professors before the competition, squeezing in research between classes.

On Thursday, they toted in 3inch-thick binders for backup. Their references included court cases that dated back to 1904.

They politely answered questions they didn't like. But they quickly shifted into areas that were stronger for their side.

"Even under some fairly aggressive questioning, you were not displaying any annoyance or hostility," Roberts said. "We get that a lot."

Press Coverage II

Chief Justice Roberts Presides Over Inaugural Moot Court Competition

By Anthony Ruiz, The Pioneer Log (Reprinted with permission) April 12th, 2013

Chief Justice Roberts with Judge Leavy and his chambers staff
Chief Justice Roberts with Judge Leavy and his chambers staff
(Pictured from left to right: Judge O’Scannlain, Susan Reid, Chief Justice Roberts, Nancy Duhnkrack, Kathy Dodds)
Chief Justice Roberts with 9th Circuit Library and Clerk’s Office staff
Chief Justice Roberts with 9th Circuit Library and Clerk’s Office staff
(Pictured from left to right: Elaine Thomas, Robert Walch, Julia Sathler, Scott McCurdy, Chief Justice Roberts, Dustin Mills, Spencer Wilson)

Lewis & Clark College Northwestern School of Law inaugurated its first ever Environmental Moot Court Advocate of the Year Competition on April 5 in the Agnes Flanagan Chapel. With lines stretching from the Chapel to the Frank Manor House, hundreds of eager law students, graduates and other professionals packed the recently renovated venue which featured sitting Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts. Chief Justice Roberts is the highest ranking federal official to visit LC since President Gerald Ford came to Palatine Hill in 1975. Roberts, along with Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain and Judge Anna Brown (’80), presided over the inaugural competition.

Three members of LC’s environmental law team that finished second at a national competition at Pace University School of Law in New York last November participated in the inaugural event. Third-year law school students Andy Erickson, Maggie Hall and Meredith Price (’07) each had 25 minutes to argue their case in front of the Supreme Court Justice, allowing for 1-minute rebuttals at the end. The students argued a fictional yet complex case surrounding the Clean Water Act and endured 32 practice rounds in preparing for the event.

“Today is an extraordinary day for the College and even more for students who get to argue in front of the Chief Justice,” said President Barry Glassner. “Not many students in the world get to do that.”

Soon to be double alumna, Price won the competition, receiving the highest of praise from the judges for her eye contact, poise and patience under tough questioning. During her time at LC, Price was vice president of the Student Academic Affairs Board, participated in a national debate tournament and was selected as the senior speaker in 2007.

At the conclusion of the event, Chief Justice Roberts said that he “enjoyed it very much” and was generally impressed by the composure of the participants throughout. Judge O’Scannlain said that all three participants would be among the top echelon of lawyers he dealt with on a daily basis and encouraged them to apply to work in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals the minute they pass the bar.

Chief Justice Roberts signing his Green Bag Magazine “Supreme Court Sluggers” Baseball Card
Chief Justice Roberts signing his Green Bag Magazine “Supreme Court Sluggers” Baseball Card (Pictured from left to right: Judge O’Scannlain, Dean Klonoff, Scott McCurdy, Chief Justice Roberts)

In the afternoon prior to the competition, Chief Justice Roberts surprised three first-year legal writing classrooms with a visit. The Chief Justice asked Dean of the Law School Robert Klonoff for names and pictures of students so that he could memorize their faces and cold call on them during class just as the professors would do. First-year law student Michael Cowgill was one of the students the Chief Justice called on during the surprise class visits. The Florida native admitted to being initially shocked when the Chief Justice called his name, but said that he felt prepared and that the he will remember the moment for some time to come.

Associate Professor of Law Aliza Kaplan said that the Chief Justice must have looked at her syllabus prior to class since he immediately began asking and fielding questions as if it were a normal day. “We were shell-shocked at first,” said Kaplin, who had no prior knowledge that her classroom would be visited by the 17th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

After judging the competition, Chief Justice Roberts made his way over to Stamm for a post-reception event. The Chief Justice bumped elbows with a buzzing room as participants were honored, drinks were served and the LC community reflected on the enormity of the events that had transpired.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Brenda Hart, Judicial Assistant to the Hon. Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, for the beautiful luncheon served in honor of the Chief Justice.

This Commemorative Booklet is a publication of the Office of the Clerk
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Cathy A. Catterson, Circuit and Court of Appeals Executive
Molly Dwyer, Clerk of Court
Robert M. Walch, Senior Deputy Clerk, Northern Division

Contributors

Dustin Mills, Deputy Clerk
Scott McCurdy, Senior Librarian
Spencer Wilson, Intern, Office of the Clerk
Caleb Huegel, Intern, Office of the Clerk