USA's Constitution Week Features Two Lectures

Posted on September 11, 2015
Alice Jackson

Two upcoming events at the University of South Alabama – the 2015 Judge Harry J. Wilters Jr. Endowed Lecture on Constitutional Law and Professional Ethics, and Constitution Day  will focus on various aspects of constitutional law.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14, Clark D. Cunningham, who holds the W. Lee Burge Chair in Law and Ethics at Georgia State University’s College of Law, will speak on “Courage, Compassion and Commitment: Two Ethical Decisions that Changed History.” The event will be in the Recital Hall of the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center with a reception afterward.

At 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, the annual Constitution Day program will feature “A Review of Important Cases to be Decided in the Upcoming Term of the Supreme Court of the United States.” The one-hour program will be held in the auditorium of the Marx Library. The next term of the nation’s highest court will begin Monday, Oct. 5.

Both events on campus are free and open to the public. 

Cunningham is director of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism, a consortium of ethics centers at six universities, and is co-editor of the “International Forum on Teaching Legal Ethics and Professionalism.”

He is a leading American scholar on the legal system of India and has consulted around the world on reform in legal education. Additionally, he is a member of the Chief Justice of Georgia’s Commission on Professionalism and served on the Fulton County Criminal Justice Blue Ribbon Commission. Cunningham has served as a legal expert on legal ethics in a number of major cases and his reasoning has been adopted by the Missouri Supreme Court as well as federal courts in Georgia and Illinois in decisions disqualifying lawyers for conflicts of interest. He has served as a special master, appointed by the Georgia Supreme Court, to exercise general supervision over lawyer disciplinary proceedings and to make findings of fact and conclusion of law on whether or not discipline should be imposed.

The lecture is funded by an endowment in honor of renowned jurist and lawyer Harry J. Wilters Jr. of Baldwin County. Wilters graduated from Robertsdale High School, then served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan following the 1945 atomic bombings. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Alabama and received his law degree at the Cumberland School of Law. Wilters practiced for 60 years and served as presiding judge of the 28th Judicial Circuit in Baldwin County for almost 14 years. He later continued to serve the community as a judge on special cases. The law library in the Bay Minette Courthouse was named in his honor. The endowment was funded by Wilters’ family – Ms. Verla Ledlow Wilters, Judge Robert Wilters, and Dr. John Wilters – with the USA Foundation to support the programs of the departments of political science and criminal justice in recognition of his years of dedication to the law and his pursuit of excellence and high ethical standards.

For more information about either of these events, call Dr. Nader Entessar, chair of political science and criminal justice, at (251) 460-7161, or Dr. Ron Nelson, associate professor of political science and criminal justice and pre-law adviser, at (251) 460-6725. 

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