Impeach Justice Douglas!
When Justice William O. Douglas retired from the United States Supreme Court in 1975, he had served for thirty-six years, longer than any other justice its history, and had helped to decide some of the most important cases in the nation’s history. He was an inveterate traveler, prolific writer, and popular speaker, who used his position to espouse his ideas on environmentalism and the Bill of Rights. His public visibility and open criticism won him friends in some places and more than a few enemies in the Congress and the White House, some of whom actively, though unsuccessfully, sought his impeachment.
Impeach Justice Douglas! explores some of the most explosive issues of William O. Douglas’s long tenure on the Supreme Court. He wrestles with balancing “wilderness mind” with the often-hostile adversarial conflicts created by his controversial opinions and his active public life. He addresses the issues about which he was most passionate . . . civil rights, freedom of speech, environmentalism, and the right of the individual to non-conformity and dissent . . . as he reflects on Brown v. The Board of Education, the “McCarthy Era,” and the Vietnam War. Although Douglas’ life spanned the early and middle part of the 20th century, the issues of his day remain major social and legal concerns of current times.
William O. Douglas left a legacy that calls for vigilance to protect human rights and action to protect the earth’s environment. The movie explores that legacy, provokes thought about our responsibilities as citizens, not only of the United States, but of the global community.
The goal of the program is to use the cases and causes in which Justice William O. Douglas was involved as a basis for attorneys today to facilitate discussion and explore specific rules of professional conduct in contemporary legal and judicial practice. The specific rules that might apply in these cases are included in the materials and attendees are asked to focus on the issues in the movie as they relate to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct, as well as the Rules in their own jurisdictions.
GRAHAM THATCHER was the Artistic Director and primary performer for Periaktos Productions. Over his lifetime he performed in or directed over 250 community, university and professional theatre productions. He co-authored Clarence Darrow: Crimes, Causes and the Courtroom, Maxims, Monarchy and Sir Thomas More and Impeach Justice Douglas! and performed in the leading roles in those CLE Theatre programs. He also coauthored and directed Thurgood Marshall’s Coming!
Graham Thatcher also served as a workshop facilitator and consultant in communications and was the creator and facilitator of “Word of Mouth: A Workshop in the Art and Ethics of Oral Communication for Lawyers” and “The Art of the Law: A Workshop in Professionalism for Lawyers,” which he presented for numerous law schools and bar associations. He held a B.A. from San Francisco State University, an M.A. in Theatre from the University of South Dakota and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota.
He was listed in Who's Who in American Education and Outstanding American Educators and was a recipient of the Governor's Award from the Minnesota Council on Quality. Graham was named "National Presenter of the Year for 2006" by the New Mexico Bar Foundation and received the Rushmore Honors Award in the Arts from the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce in 2007.
He passed away in May of 2018, leaving a decades long legacy in both the performing arts and Continuing Legal Education.
BRIAN T. GUTHRIE, ESQ. is Of Counsel with Mattioni, LTD in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With nearly forty years experience at the Pennsylvania bar, Mr. Guthrie’s practice includes assisting lawyers and law firms achieve success in a setting mindful of the tradition of the law as a learned profession. He believes lawyers can attain professional fulfillment by synthesizing several dimensions in which they work every day.
“Competence” and “integrity” are easily mouthed as platitudes, but a refined understanding of what they are and how they are achieved makes for a law practice that is personally satisfying. It also provides a competitive advantage when vying for a limited number of clients with what often seems to be a limitless supply of lawyers. He believes that the skill development that comes with a true understanding of what it is that lawyers actually do, together with a firm grasp of the relevant ethical considerations is not only personally rewarding, but also makes good business sense.
Mr. Guthrie has worked in numerous areas of the law and achieved the coveted highest peer rating awarded by a major law publisher. His professional experiences include partnership in a major law firm, acting as senior in-house counsel to a Fortune 500 Company, representing a major city and working in a small law firm. His litigation experience includes representation in both state and federal courts throughout the United States and includes jury trials, arbitrations and appellate matters.
He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the First and Third Circuits, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of Tennessee. Mr. Guthrie has also represented clients in state courts in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota and Tennessee. Mr. Guthrie holds a B.B.A. from Temple University and a J.D. from the James Beasley School of Law - also at Temple University in Philadelphia. Mr. Guthrie is listed in Philadelphia’s Top Lawyers: The Definitive Guide to Legal Representation in Philadelphia.
JOHN M. STUART was the Minnesota State Public Defender from 1990 to 2014, supervising a state public defense system in which 700 lawyers and support staff represent 175,000 clients a year. Prior to that he was a trial court public defender for 12 years. Stuart has served as Co-Chair of the American Council of Chief Defenders and taught at the National Defender Leadership Institute. In Minnesota, he has worked on numerous statewide task forces dealing with racial fairness, drug and sex offender sentencing, child welfare and juvenile justice. He holds a B. A. from Haverford College (Haverford, PA) and a J.D from the State University of New York Law School at Buffalo, where he was a volunteer law clerk for the Attica Brothers Legal Defense. Stuart retired in 2014 and is still active in the justice system, continuing to work on creating more drug courts and treatment programs for nonviolent offenders as an alternative to jail time.
BARRY R. VICKREY served as Dean of the University of South Dakota School of Law (Vermillion, SD) from 1993 to 2011 and then served as a full-time professor until his retirement in 2016. He taught legal ethics throughout his career in legal education.
Prior to his tenure at USD, he was on the faculty of the University of North Dakota School of Law for eleven years, including five years as Associate Dean. He was on the staff of the American Bar Association for five years, serving as assistant to the president elect president and as Director of the Division of Professional Education.
Between college and law school, he was a staff aide on the Policy Planning Staff of the Governor of Tennessee. Barry lived in Tennessee for most of his early life and is admitted to the practice of law in Tennessee and South Dakota.
He holds a B.A. in history and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His wife, Mary Green Vickrey, is a singer-songwriter and music educator who holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt and an M.A. from USD. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren.