St. Louis County Courts

Symposium will bring together descendants of Dred Scott, Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Davis

RENO, Nev. — Descendants of Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Davis and the principal figures in the infamous Dred Scott decision will come together for a Symposium on Reconciliation and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts on July 16 at Logan University in Chesterfield, Missouri.

The program is a presentation of the nonprofit and nonpartisan National Judicial College, the nation’s oldest and largest school for judges of all kinds.

Participants in this symposium will hear from descendants of Dred Scott, Peter Blow (one of Mr. Scott’s previous owners), Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, President Jefferson and Confederate President Davis. They will talk about how the weight of history has affected their families.

Starting at 9 a.m., the panel of descendants also will discuss the meaning of the Supreme Court decision in Scott v. Sanford, which affirmed slavery, the life of Dred Scott, and Dred Scott’s impact on the nation. The panel discussion will be moderated by Emily Pitts, Principal and Director of Diversity at Edward Jones, St. Louis County Associate Circuit Judge Judy Draper and St. Louis County Circuit Judge Stanley J. Wallach.

At 1 p.m., faculty from The National Judicial College will conduct a seminar exploring the role of the courts in a culturally responsive democracy, the judge’s role in safeguarding fairness within the judicial process, and the tools a judge can use to ensure that all people are treated equally in the American justice system. Three ethics CLE credits are offered for the seminar.

The event is being cosponsored by the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, the American Judges Association, the National Center for State Courts, the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Logan University, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee–21st Judicial Circuit, and Thompson Coburn LLP.

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NOTE: This event is not open to media. However, interviews can be arranged with participants. For more information, contact Ed Cohen, director of communications/marketing for The National Judicial College, at (775) 327-8285 or egcohen@judges.org, or Christine Bertelson, Public Information Officer for the St. Louis County Circuit Court, at 314 615-2063 or Christine.Bertelson@courts.mo.gov.

Based in Reno, Nevada, and offering courses nationwide, The National Judicial College has been the nation’s leading provider of judicial education for more than half a century, drawing participants from every state and from more than 150 countries. The NJC offers more than 200 judicial education programs in person and online in support of its mission: “to make the world a more just place by educating and inspiring its judiciary.”

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