Fall 2010 Indigenous Law Conference: Persuasion and Ideology

Registration is open at


The Seventh Annual Indigenous Law Conference, “Persuasion and Ideology: Politically Divisive Cases in Appellate Courts.” The conference will take place at the Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing, Michigan on October 8-9, 2010.

We are inspired by recent work by Judge Richard Posner, author of How Judges Think (2008); Professors Cass Sunstein et al., authors of Are Judges Political? An Empirical Investigation of the Federal Judiciary (2006); and Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner’s book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (2008). We think these three disparate works encapsulate what we are trying to reach at the conference. In the first order, Judge Posner’s work offers a deep theoretical basis for many of the modes of judging, while the Sunstein et al. book offers a political and empirical view of federal appellate judges. Both assert, to different extents, that the politics of an appellate judge is strongly related to the votes an appellate judge might cast. However, the Scalia/Garner work brings appellate litigation back to its grounding – the art of persuasion.

All of these works beg the questions we hope to ask at this conference: Why does a judge like Justice O’Connor vote to uphold the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policy in Grutter v. Bollinger? Why does a judge like Justice Breyer vote to allow the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Van Orden v. Perry? Why does a judge like Justice Kennedy vote to strike down the Military Commissions Act of 2007 in Boumediene v. Bush? Why does a judge like Justice Stevens vote to uphold Michigan’s economic discrimination against out-of-state wine producers in Granholm v. Heald?

Tentative Schedule:


(all events in the Law School’s Castle Board Room except Conference Dinner)

7:45 a.m.  Registration opens; buffet breakfast

8:40-9:00 a.m.  Welcome and Introduction, Dean Joan Howarth (invited)

9:00 a.m.  Keynote Speaker: Judge William Thorne (Utah Court of Appeals)


10:15 a.m.

The State of Persuasion in Federal Indian Law

Ann Juliano

Melody McCoy

Alex Skibine

Matthew L.M. Fletcher

11:45 a.m.  Lunch

12:45 p.m.

Persuasion in Tribal Courts

Dr. Raymond Austin

Moderator: Hannah Bobee

Pat Sekaquaptewa

Zeke Fletcher


2:30 p.m.

Persuasion in Religious Freedom Cases

Moderator: Troy Brown

Douglas Laycock

Christopher Lund

Frank Ravitch

4:15 p.m.

Persuasion in Criminal Justice Cases

Moderator: Victoria Hatch

Jeannine Bell

Sarah Deer

Catherine Grosso/Barbara O’Brien

Cameron Fraser

Alfred Urbina

6:30 p.m.  Dinner for Conference participants and attendees


8:30 a.m. Buffet breakfast

9:oo a.m.  Keynote: Philip S. (Sam) Deloria

10:15 a.m.

Persuasion in Race & Equal Protection Cases

Moderator: Tiffani Darden

Paul Finkelman

Kevin Maillard

Ann Tweedy

12:00 p.m. Thank you and Conference Conclusion, Matthew L.M. Fetcher

8 thoughts on “Fall 2010 Indigenous Law Conference: Persuasion and Ideology

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.