Shoring Up the Constitution: The Legacy of the African-American Lawyer and the Quest for Equality
Tuesday, September 19th, 2023 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Webcast Archive Content
This year’s Battisti lecture will cover the lawyer pioneers who laid out the strategy for Brown v. Board, the obstacles they faced, and the ways racism has subsequently reared its head. The lecture, through exploring a range of prior cases, will look at the prior legal challenges and the ways those challenges continue to appear in the form of political obstacles.
Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr. was raised, along with his five brothers and four sisters, by his parents in Bessemer, Alabama, where he attended the segregated public schools.
Oliver was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and served as that court's Chief Judge from 2010 to 2017. Oliver holds a BA from the College of Wooster, an MA in political science from Case Western Reserve University, and a JD from New York University School of Law. Early in his career, he was a law clerk for the late Judge William H. Hastie of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the first African- American federal judge. Oliver was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District ofOhio, from 1976 to 1982, where he served as Chief of the Civil Division and Chief of Appellate Litigation. From 1982 to 1994, he was a professor at Cleveland State University's Cleveland-Marshall College ofLaw and served as Associate Dean from 1991 to 1994.
Oliver has served on the Judicial Conference of the United States, the governing body for the federal judiciary and on its Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and its Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules. He has sat by designation on the U.S. Third, Sixth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. Oliver has served as Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and as its Section Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. He currently serves on the Board of the National Conference of Bar Examiners. For the last six years, Oliver has served as a member of the teaching faculty at Harvard Law School's Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop.
In 2020, Oliver received the Richard W. Pogue Award for excellence in community leadership and engagement from the Cleveland Metropolitan BarFoundation. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Kutak Award, given annually by the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar to an individual who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the legal academy, the bench and the bar.
Oliver is the recipient of the Bench Trailblazer Award from the Norman S. Minor Bar Association. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Wooster and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the New York University Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association. He also served as a Jurist-In-Residence at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and a Distinguished Jurist-In- Residence at Tour Law School and at Fordham University Law School.
Oliver has been inducted into the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Hall of Fame and the Case Western Reserve University Law School's Society of Benchers. He has received Honorary Doctor of Law Degrees from the University of Akron and from New England School of Law Boston. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the College of Wooster.
Case Western Reserve University School of Law
George Gund Hall
Room A59, Moot Courtroom
11075 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106