ACLU National Legal Director Steven Shapiro to Review Supreme Court Term at Lawyers Conference in Key West

July 11, 2005 12:00 am

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KEY WEST, FL — American Civil Liberties Union National Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro will be in Key West July 29 to review highlights of the Supreme Court’s just completed term at the annual ACLU of Florida Lawyers Conference. Shapiro will discuss a series of important decisions on religious freedom, free speech and the death penalty.

“The Court’s civil liberties record this year was a surprisingly positive one,” said Shapiro. “In contrast to past years, the Justices seemed less anxious to undermine meaningful civil rights enforcement, more skeptical about the death penalty, and more willing to look at international law for whatever guidance it can provide in resolving fundamental human rights issues.”

The ACLU of Florida Lawyers Conference begins at 12:30 p.m., Friday July 29, and ends at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, July 30. The conference will be held at the Pier House Resort, One Duval Street, in Key West.

Shapiro, one of the nation’s principal litigators of constitutional rights before the U.S. Supreme Court, is scheduled to speak from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 29th.

Among the many Supreme Court decisions Shapiro will discuss are the two involving displays of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky and Texas. He will also analyze the impact of the Court’s decision in a free speech case that held that the developers of peer-to-peer file sharing software can be held liable if their software is used in violation of the copyright laws by individual consumers. The practical implications in Florida of Roper v. Simmons, which struck down the juvenile death penalty as a form of cruel and unusual punishment, also will be discussed.

In addition, Shapiro will discuss the coming battle in Congress to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the likely effect of a new appointment on the decisions of the Court.

The ACLU of Florida Lawyers Conference is a gathering of about 75 of Florida’s chief civil and human rights attorneys to discuss a number of pressing legal and civil liberties issues. Besides the Supreme Court term, other topics at this year’s conference include police misconduct litigation, mental health and disability law, and protecting privacy in the “”Digital Age”” of technology.

The ACLU Lawyers Conference is co-sponsored by the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities and the Public Interest Law Section (PILS) of the Florida Bar, which is hosting additional CLE workshops on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, prior to the ACLU Lawyers Conference. The conference is open to the public, and registration is available at the door.

The cost is $150 for ACLU members and PILS members; $200 for non-members. (Approval for 15.5 general CLE credits, including 2.5 ethics credits, for the conference has been sought from The Florida Bar). There will be an additional $15 charge for each PILS workshops. PILS members can attend the workshops for free.

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