Realizing the Dream: Equality for All
Keynote Speaker U.S. District Court Judge Jane Boyle
by Dawn Fowler
Freedom. Liberty. The Right of Expression. On a practical level, the right to choose a home, employment and a seat in a restaurant, movie theater or on public transportation.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, declaring all persons held as slaves would be forever free, and that “the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”
Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, in one of the most inspirational speeches of all times, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called upon our nation to live up to the promise of equality for all. A statute honoring Rosa Parks was recently dedicated at the Capital. President Obama noted, “In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world.”
It is fitting that the theme of the 2013 American Bar Association Law Day is “Realizing the Dream—Equality for All” to provide the opportunity to explore the progress made in recognizing and promoting civil and human rights in the United States. More importantly, it provides a forum for discussion of the work remaining to rectify injustice, eliminate discrimination and end other violations of human rights.
President of the ABA, Laurel Bellows, issued a challenge—“As we reflect on this year’s Law Day, let us work together to achieve the aspirations so eloquently expressed by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Let us unite and commit ourselves to assuring all citizens of this great country have the opportunity to ‘realize the dream’ of liberty and equality.”
The Dallas Bar Association will continue its tradition of celebrating Law Day with a luncheon honoring the judiciary, and featuring keynote speaker, the Honorable Jane Boyle, Judge, United States District Court, Northern District. Judge Boyle epitomizes the fact that the judiciary is an integral part of the preservation of equality under the law.
Judge Boyle graduated from the University of Texas with honors in 1977 and from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1981. Her career has been dedicated to public service. She has served as an Assistant District Attorney, Dallas County; Assistant U.S. Attorney and U.S. Magistrate Judge, Northern District; and United States Attorney, Northern District—the first woman to hold that position.
Judge Boyle was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2004, when Judge Jerry Buchmeyer assumed senior status. “Being the successor to Judge Jerry Buchmeyer—a giant among civil rights advocates—has been one of the greatest honors of my career. Judge Buchmeyer’s legacy of equality under the law and his egalitarian nature made an indelible impression on me. I think often about his courage in judging and hope to follow his example.”
Judge Boyle recounts an experience of working with him in the mid-1990s on a large-scale project to improve the quality of representation for indigent defendants in federal criminal cases. “Our task was to assemble a list of qualified litigators from local criminal and civil bars who were willing to take these appointments. Judge Buchmeyer’s goal was to give every sector of the bar an opportunity to participate. He personally attended numerous DBA and minority bar association meetings. In the end, we had an outstanding, diverse group of attorney volunteers that is still in place today.”
Judge Boyle has already followed his example—she has presided over many cases involving civil rights issues, including excessive force, free speech and housing for immigrants.
Defending liberty is a family focus—Judge Boyle’s husband, John, is a federal prosecutor. Their son is a recent graduate of the Air Force Academy, and their daughter is class of 2014.
Progress is slow, but with Judge Boyle and other fine judges at the helm, and other courageous individuals like Rosa Parks, the dream of equality may become a reality.
The luncheon begins at noon on Friday, May 3, 2013 at the Belo Mansion. Tickets are $35 per person or $350 per table. For tickets or more information, contact Mary Ellen Johnson at email@example.com or (214) 220-7400. Reservations available online at www.dallasbar.com.
Dawn Fowler is a Co-Chair of the DBA Publications Committee. She is a partner with Keane, Fowler & Donohue and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.