Dallas Bar Association

The Revival of American Patriotism: A Celebration of the Legacy of John Adams

Keynote Speaker Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater

By Michelle A. Koledi

“Employed in the service of my country abroad…, I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads prompted by good hearts, as an experiment better adapted to the genius, character, situation and relations of this nation and country than any which had ever been proposed or suggested.” John Adams expressed his devotion to the Constitution and its everlasting principles of freedom and justice in his inaugural address before the citizens of Philadelphia on March 4, 1797. Although American society has dramatically evolved since Adams’s presidency, the principles upon which citizens derive and exercise their rights are the same.

The 2011 American Bar Association Law Day theme—The Legacy of John Adams, From Boston to Guantanamo—celebrates the impact of Adams’s roles of political activist, philosopher, lawyer and president on the creation of the American government and the protection of American society. The American Bar Association has highlighted Adams’s defense of a British officer and soldiers allegedly responsible for civilian deaths in the notorious “Boston Massacre.” Adams’s legal prowess has been regarded as “a lawyerly exemplar of adherence to the rule of law and defense of the rights of the accused, even in cases when advocates may represent unpopular clients and become involved in matters that generate public controversy.”

The Dallas Bar Association is pleased to celebrate the 2011 Law Day Luncheon Honoring the Judiciary and welcome the keynote speaker, the Honorable Sidney A. Fitzwater, Chief Judge of the Northern District of Texas. Judge Fitzwater received his law degree from Baylor University in 1976. While in law school, Judge Fitzwater was Associate Editor of the Baylor Law Review and a member of the 1976 state moot court competition team.

Judge Fitzwater has achieved a remarkable career. Upon graduation from Baylor Law School, he joined Vinson & Elkins, LLP as an associate in the Houston office. In 1978, he relocated to Dallas and joined Rain Harrell Emery Young & Doke. In 1982, Judge Fitzwater was appointed to the 298th Judicial District in Dallas County and remained in that position until 1986. President Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Fitzwater to the Northern District of Texas in 1986. At the age of 32, Judge Fitzwater garnered distinction as the youngest federal judge. He is still the youngest life-tenured federal judge. In 1997, Baylor Law School awarded Judge Fitzwater the Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award. This award is presented to an individual who “exemplifies the spirit of selfless dedication to public service represented by the life and career of the late Governor Price Daniel and reflects the true meaning of Baylor’s official motto, ‘Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana’ (For Church, For State).”

The DBA’s Law Day activities not only honor our judiciary, but also strengthen community outreach efforts with local schools. Those activities include art and essay contests for elementary and middle school students, and mock voire dire observation for high school students. The 2011 Law Day is certain to be a unique and rewarding experience for all participants.

The Dallas Bar Association celebrates John Adams’s legacy on May 13. The luncheon will begin at noon at the Belo Mansion. Tickets are $35 per person and parking is available for in the Belo Mansion garage. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please contact Michelle Dilda at mdilda@dallasbar.org or (214) 220-7474.

Michelle A. Koledi is a civil litigator licensed in both New York and Texas state and federal jurisdictions, and a member of the Dallas Bar Association Publications Committee. She can be reached at michellekoledi@yahoo.com.

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