Turley To Give Closing Keynote Address At California Judicial Conference

I have the pleasure this morning of giving the closing keynote at the 37th Annual Eastern District Conference in California. The conference is being held at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe resort. My keynote will address the erosion of free speech protections in West and will be held in the closing plenary session from 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.     

This is a remarkable conference of judges and lawyers in the Eastern District. The conference has been guided by Chief District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill, who has assembled experts from all over California and the nation on emerging issues of law and politics. The conference this year has been an extraordinary mosaic of contemporary controversies that impact both the judges and lawyers alike in this District.

The event is being held in one of the nation’s spectacular locations. Indeed, I have spent two days hiking in the mountains around Lake Tahoe. These trails are breathtaking both literally and figuratively. I will post another account of those hikes today.

15 thoughts on “Turley To Give Closing Keynote Address At California Judicial Conference”

  1. There wasn’t a Ritz Carlton in Tahoe when my bride and I were there. I see there’s no casino. Love the area. Some nice shacks on the lake.

  2. “The event is being held in one of the nation’s spectacular locations. Indeed ….”
    I always think the sincerity of belief of the conference goer is in inverse relation to the environs of the conference. Give me a First Amendment judicial rally in Newark or Dubuque and I’m impressed. Most anyone would go to a “USA for Antifa” rally if it were held in Tahoe at the Ritz with the conference discount of about 25%. Because you know:


    1. Didn’t it used to be the case that the Teamsters convention was held in Las Vegas every time?

  3. “Ready to Repair” would be a more efficacious message coming from you.

    In this culture of Hillary’s “vast right wing conspiracy” / “basket of deplorables”, and Trump’s denigrating Latinos and immigrants from “sh!t hole” countries, it would be fortuitous if a legal scholar showed his audience a better way.

    Gospel of St Luke 18:9-14
    30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

    Jesus addressed this parable
    to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
    and despised everyone else.
    “Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
    one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
    The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
    ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
    greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
    I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
    But the tax collector stood off at a distance
    and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
    but beat his breast and prayed,
    ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
    I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
    for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
    and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”


    1. Practical application follows from Biblical scholar Jesuit Father Michael Simone, SJ.

      Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Sir 35:12-18, Ps 34, 2 Tm 4:6-18, Lk 18:9-14

      tikkun olam (“repairing the world”)

      The Pharisees have a bad reputation. A sympathetic portrayal includes an assessment of their goals, one of which was the survival of Israel. Although Roman authorities respected local customs, they also worked to subvert the cultures of their subject peoples. Pharisees, and indeed many other Jews, responded to Roman attempts at assimilation with ostentatious displays of fidelity to Israel’s traditions. In this environment, laws regarding diet, Sabbath observance and worship became tools of resistance and even survival. Many Pharisees probably paid a price for their fidelity by being closed out of lucrative positions of power.

      Jesus addressed this parable to those convinced of their own righteousness.

      The Romans relied on local collaborators to assist them with their rule. The Romans offered significant rewards to any who supported them, especially as tax collectors and auxiliary troops. Economic opportunities were few, and the potential for poverty and debt slavery was great; many who served the empire had no love for Rome but only wanted to protect and feed their own families. Luke often hints at the instability of Roman rule. He mentions—always obliquely—multiple rebellions (Lk 23:18-25, Acts 5:33-39). He shows tax collectors and soldiers flocking to John the Baptist (Lk 3:12-14). He recounts the fascination that Herod Antipas, a Roman puppet, felt for Jesus (Lk 9:9; 23:8-10) and he describes in detail Jesus’ popularity among tax collectors (Lk 5:27-31; 7:29-34; 15:2-4; 19:1-7). In Luke’s telling, many of the most loathed collaborators were ready to hear a different message and even take up a different life. They only needed a nudge in the right direction, which Jesus was able to provide.

      A Pharisee could have provided this nudge. Although their fidelity to God had a political aspect, it was also deeply spiritual. Their practice looks like an early version of what Jews even today call tikkun olam (“repairing the world”). Every act of righteousness heals some of the damage that sin has inflicted on creation. Righteous acts, moreover, gave examples for others to follow. Goodness inspires goodness.

      The Pharisee in this Sunday’s Gospel reading was not following this vision. God had granted Israel the covenant and law so that righteousness would prevail among all humans. The Pharisee in Jesus’ parable betrayed that plan. He used the tools of the covenant—his own faith, his good works, even his prayer—to separate himself from a fellow Israelite. Given the history of Pharisees and tax collectors, it is easy to understand his motivation, but his need for self-righteousness caused him to miss something important. The repentant tax collector was on the verge of a change of heart; all he needed was a nudge in the right direction.

      The trap into which the Pharisee fell waits for Christians even today. In his preaching, Christ has given us tools to repair the world. Too often, however, Christians have used his Gospel to divide humanity further. In this Gospel passage, Christ calls us to greater humility and greater awareness. Disciples who can humble their egos and see with Christ’s eyes will find unlimited opportunities to repair the world through acts of forgiveness, generosity and loving service. Can you help by your words or actions?

      When did someone else’s right word or action change your life?

      Do you know someone on the verge of a change for the better?

      Can you help by your words or actions?


    2. Estovir………So sorry, but I must correct you.
      Pres. Trump has never denigrated Latinos and immigrants. The idea that he said “sh**hole countries” was told to media by Democrat Dick Durbin, who had lied 6 months earlier about what was said in another Republican closed door meeting.
      If you want to be upset about something, check-out olympic swimming advocate, and licensed ladies’ lifeguard, Senator Ted Kennedy and what he said from the floor of the U.S. Senate in a speech about immigrants from Africa and Asia. The year was 1997, or thereabout….I’ll find you the quote if you’d like.
      But you are correct in noting that Hilary called Trump supporters “deplorable”. Being baptized in the Chicago political faith, we should be
      surprised it was that tame of a description.

  4. Free speech: Damare. Latin for damn. Damn Yankee. Is that one word or two? Is it a curse word? What if it is written in cursive and not typed print? What is a Yankee? Other than a baseball epithet does it reflect on New Yorkies only or anyone above the Mason Dixon line? Can a Yankee originate from a former slave state such as Missouri? Missouri went for the North in the Civil War after the Governor’s militia took a defeat in st. Louis.
    Why have Mark Twain’s books been no longer studied in elementary and high schools in America? Is it because of the use of the N word for guys like N Jim? Or because Twain was from Missouri and not from the northeast?

    Why is the holocaust glossed over and ignored in college studies and discussions?
    What was The German American Bund?
    What is a Commie?

  5. Julian Assange should be at the top of your list. Think of him while you’re out enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery. And enjoy your stay at the Ritz. It’s a far cry from Belmarsh Prison.

    1. JOHN PILGER: Did This Happen in the Home of the Magna Carta?

      October 25, 2019


      “Did this happen in the home of the Magna Carta? Yes, but who knew?

      More Important Than Dreyfus

      Julian’s case is often compared with Dreyfus; but historically it’s far more important. No one doubts — not his enemies on The New York Times, not the Murdoch press in Australia – that if he is extradited to the United States and the inevitable supermax, journalism will be incarcerated, too.

      Who will then dare to expose anything of importance, let alone the high crimes of the West? Who will dare publish ‘Collateral Murder’? Who will dare tell the public that democracy, such as it is, has been subverted by a corporate authoritarianism from which fascism draws its strength.

      Once there were spaces, gaps, boltholes, in mainstream journalism in which mavericks, who are the best journalists, could work. These are long closed now. The hope is the samizdat on the internet, where fine disobedient journalism is still practised. The greater hope is that a judge or even judges in Britain’s court of appeal, the High Court, will rediscover justice and set him free. In the meantime, it’s our responsibility to fight in ways we know but which now require more than a modicum of Assange courage.”

  6. Be sure to highlight the loss of free speech on college campuses, including GW. Break a leg.

    1. They don’t care. Free speech is for peers, and neither lawyers nor the professoriate believe that outside speakers and campus dissidents are peers.

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