2017 Judicial and Bar Conference Highlights

April 27, 2017

On April 7 the D.C. Courts and the D.C. Bar successfully cohosted the 2017 Judicial and Bar Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, drawing hundreds of attorneys, judges, and others in the legal community. The one-day conference explored issues around the theme “Justice for All? Bias and Discrimination in the 21st Century,” including the future of voting rights and electoral reform, racial bias, and criminal justice reform. Here are some of the highlights of the event.


2017 Judicial and Bar Conference opening plenary

Nicole Austin-Hillery, director and counsel for the Washington, D.C., office of the Brennan Center for Justice, hosted the opening plenary “Democracy at a Crossroads.” Panelists included Edward Hailes Jr. of the Advancement Project, Julie Fernandes of Open Society Foundations, and Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Discussions focused on the recent U.S. elections and the state of democracy in the United States.


2017 Judicial and Bar Conference Keynote Luncheon Speech

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, delivered the keynote luncheon speech at the conference. Ifill spoke about the need for advocacy on civil rights, voting rights, and judicial diversity, and about the importance of patience and understanding from attorneys and judges working with disadvantaged people. The luncheon also featured remarks from D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby. Among those in attendance were D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin and D.C. Bar President Annamaria Steward.


2017 Judicial and Bar Conference breakout session “Religious Profiling: Targeted Policing, Islamophobia, and Equal Protection”

The breakout session “Religious Profiling: Targeted Policing, Islamophobia, and Equal Protection” featured as panelists (from left) Jenifer Wicks of the D.C. Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, William Burgess, formerly of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Michael German of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, and Dr. Maha Hilal, formerly of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. Moderated by criminal defense attorney Patrice A. Sulton, the panel explored the constitutionality of terror investigation practices, particularly the surveillance of the Muslim community post-9/11.


2017 Judicial and Bar Conference Judicial Reception

Capping the day’s events was an evening judicial reception honoring D.C. and federal judges and giving attendees an opportunity to meet and mingle. Pictured are Katherine Mazzaferri, Annamaria Steward, and Cynthia Hill, chief executive officer, president, and chief programs officer, respectively, of the D.C. Bar.