The Honorable John Paul Stevens, retired justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will address an invitation-only audience at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law on October 3 at 1:30 p.m. in the Governor Richard B. Ogilvie Auditorium, 565 West Adams (between Clinton and Jefferson streets) in Chicago. The program, “An Afternoon with Justice John Paul Stevens,” will be webcast in real time on the law school’s website. The lecture will also be available to the greater IIT community and the general public following the lecture on the law school’s YouTube channel.
Justice Stevens will address the topic “The Ninth Vote in the Stop the Beach Case.” Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection was a lawsuit brought by a group of property owners to challenge a Florida law that allowed municipalities to petition the state to renourish eroded beaches. At issue was whether the state could restore eroded beaches in front of private homes, then designate the restored beach as public property. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the beach restoration law, and the property owners appealed on the grounds that the decision constituted a “judicial taking”—a court decision that deprives a property owner of a pre-existing, established right in that property.
In 2010, in an 8–0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Florida Supreme Court ruling against the owners, but split as to whether a judicial takings claim was possible. (Justice Stevens, who owns oceanfront property in Florida, did not participate in the case.) The decision has fostered debate within the legal community and among the general public over judicial takings.
Justice Stevens’ visit marks the third time in the last year that a U.S. Supreme Court justice has addressed an audience at the law school. Justice Antonin G. Scalia delivered the keynote address at “Judicial Takings: Property Rights and the Rule of Law,” a conference on issues related to the Stop the Beach decision. Justice Stephen G. Breyer discussed themes set forth in his book Making Our Democracy Work—A Judge’s View at the inaugural event of IIT Chicago-Kent’s Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States.
This program is cosponsored by IIT Chicago-Kent’s Jury Center, IIT Chicago-Kent’s Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Jack Miller Center.
In 2011, IIT Chicago-Kent became one of several law schools to offer two annual Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Summer Fellowships. The fellowship, which is open to first- and second-year students, seeks to promote the public interest and social justice values that have characterized Justice Stevens’ work throughout his career. To date, four IIT Chicago-Kent students have received fellowships.