Watch Past Programs Here!

Not able to attend one of our programs live? Want to watch again or share with a friend? You’re in luck! Find all the recordings of past programs here.

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Book Talk with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Dahlia Lithwick (October 2021)

SCOTUS in Focus (June 2021)

The Demonization of (Im)migrants: Dust Bowl Refugees and the Supreme Court (April 2021)

Ninth Circuit Cowboy (March 2021)

Courts during COVID (February 2021)

The Use of History in Court Cases

The Supreme Court has recently adopted a jurisprudence giving “history and tradition” a central role in its constitutional decision-making. Cases involving the Second Amendment, affirmative action, redistricting, and Religion Clause now turn on inquiries about British and American history that run as far back as the 14th century.  Historians have their own methods for formulating and resolving problems that often diverge from the types of questions that lawyers and judges seek to answer during this new mode of constitutional litigation. As a result, the question of exactly how historians should engage legal issues, and how judges and lawyers should assess and apply historians’ contributions, has become a matter of significant interest and controversy.  In this panel, we will discuss the variety of problems these interactions have raised. 

Water Law: How Public Policy Got Us Here And Could Get Us Where We Need To Be

The availability and use of water are determined by a complicated and heady mix of public policy, federal law and regulation, and state law. Our panel of experts will start by tracing some of the complexity of water history in California. Then, starting with the story of efforts to restore the San Joaquin River as a backdrop, and proceeding through the ebb and flow of the interplay of federal and state efforts to address the challenging San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem, our panel will discuss how despite the complex overlapping jurisdictional issues at play, there may be some more innovative water policy models that could lead to more progress.

HAMILTON CANDEE | Partner, Altshuler Berzon LLP; Member of the Board of Directors of the NRDC Action Fund

BRIAN GRAY | Senior Fellow, PPIC Water Policy Center; Professor of Law Emeritus, University of California

FELICIA MARCUS | William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow, Stanford; Founding Member, Water Policy Group; Elected Fellow, Nat’l Academy of Public Administration, American College of Environmental Lawyers

DR. TERRY YOUNG, Moderator | Environmental Science and Policy Expert

Introductory Remarks by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, President/CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California; Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California

Water Sharing In The West

Western water law, based on prior appropriation, is not associated with a sharing mentality. Instead, it’s first in time, first in right, and the devil take the hindmost.

Join us as our esteemed panel of experts explore the multi-jurisdictional nature of water appropriation from historical pueblo water rights, to the Supreme Court’s recent Arizona v. Navajo Nation decision, to some cutting edge ideas on fair water allocation coming out of Orange County.

Welcome by Chief Judge Philip S. Gutierrez


Robin Craig | Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law, USC Gould School of Law

Peter Reich | Lecturer in Law; Academic Director, Law & Communication Intensive; UCLA School of Law

Shelley Saxer | Laure Sudreau Chair in Law; Professor, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law

Watch the full program here!

Water Law in the Colorado River Basin:
Past, Present, and Future

The 40 million people who live in the Colorado River Basin face a challenging water shortage and the need for reform to chart a sustainable future. Adapting to the present challenges and shaping those future reforms requires an appreciation of the legal history of the Colorado River. That history shows how the law has both frustrated and advanced goals of achieving greater equity in water access in the Basin.

This panel discussed the legal history of the Colorado River Basin, how that history shows both failures and successes in advancing water equity, the relationship between that history and the present shortage, and what reforms might secure a more sustainable and equitable water future for all who call the Colorado River Basin home.

Watch the full program here!


PROF. DERRICK BEETSO | Director, Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs; Professor of Practice, Arizona State University

RICHARD MORRISON | Co-founder, Morrison Institute of Public Policy at Arizona State University

SARAH PORTER | Director, Kyl Center for Water Policy

KATHRYN SORENSEN, Ph.D. | Director of Research, Kyl Center for Water Policy

PROF. RHETT LARSON, MODERATOR | Professor of Water Law, Arizona State University; Senior Research Fellow, Kyl Center for Water Policy

Water Law: Hawai’i

Hawai‘i’s unique historical and cultural foundations around wai and kai — fresh and salt water — are key to understanding water law in Hawai‘i.

Scientists and practitioners continue to identify and address threats to these precious resources: including stony coral tissue loss disease related to shipping; climate change; and more.

Come learn about these contemporary issues, the interplay of federal and state law, as well as community-led protections of water resources.

Drew Porter | Legal fellow, Department of Land and Natural Resources

U‘i Tanigawa Lum | Assistant Professor, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law

Savannah Harriman-Pote, Moderator | Energy & Climate Change Reporter, Hawai‘i Public Radio

Watch the full program here!

On American Soil:
How Justice Became A Casualty of World War II

During WWII, a brief scuffle between a Black enlisted man and an Italian POW quickly escalated into a bloody riot at Seattle’s Fort Lawton. That night, an Italian prisoner of war was found murdered. Later, JAG Col. Leon Jaworski brought charges against 43 Black soldiers. The largest and longest Army court-martial of the war ended with the conviction of 28 soldiers for rioting, and of 3 of those soldiers for the killing of the POW.

Journalist Jack Hamann and his wife, Leslie, uncovered previously-classified documents that raised alarming questions about Jaworski’s prosecution. The publication of their book, On American Soil: How Justice Became a Casualty of World War II launched Congress and Army investigations. The book’s many disclosures prompted the Army to set aside all convictions, overturn the soldiers’ dishonorable discharges, and issue formal apologies.


Prof. Mary D. Fan | Jack R. MacDonald Endowed Chair, University of Washington School of Law

Jack and Leslie Hamann | Authors, On American Soil

Nicholas Brown | U.S. Attorney, W.D. WA

Hon. Robert Lasnik | Moderator

Watch the full program here!

The Port Chicago 50: Racism and Review

During WWII, Black sailors stationed at Port Chicago, CA, were required to load munitions on ships with inadequate training and under supervision that stressed speed over safety. Longshoremen warned that catastrophe was imminent, and on July 17, 1944 that admonition came true with a cataclysmic series of explosions that instantly killed 320 men (⅔ of them African American) and injured hundreds more.

A month later, unsafe conditions inspired hundreds of Black servicemen to refuse to load munitions, an act known as the Port Chicago Mutiny. Fifty men‍—‌called the “Port Chicago 50″‍—‌were convicted of mutiny and sentenced in ways that would change their lives.

Members of the Contra Costa Bar Association’s Port Chicago Task Force and the Federal Bar Association presented a partial reenactment of the Mutiny Trials and discuss how this event, witnessed by Thurgood Marshall, became a catalyst of the modern civil rights movement, and about the ongoing efforts to seek the exoneration of the Port Chicago 50.

Watch the full program here!

War Crimes: From the 1945 San Francisco U.N. Conference to Today

Do politics and diplomacy factor into our definition of war crimes? How are war crimes dealt with currently, compared to the past? The NJCHS and fellow historical societies invite you to hear our esteemed panelists speak on this topic.

Watch the full program here!


Prof. Laurel Fletcher | International Human Rights Clinic, Berkeley Law
Prof. Saira Mohamed | UC Berkeley School of Law

Moderated by Ambassador (ret.) Jeff Bleich
Keynote by Robert James, Esq. 

The Bill Edlund Award for Professionalism in the Law Award honoring John W. Keker

The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society and the Northern District Historical Society will honor the memory of Bill Edlund by presenting this year’s Bill Edlund Award for Professionalism in the Law to John W. Keker, Esq. of Keker, Van Nest & Peters.

Watch the ceremony here!

NJCHS Gala 2022: Strangers In A Strange Land

Thanks to all who attended our 2022 Gala, in person and virtually over Zoom. It was a delightful evening, starting with the moving and inspiring presentation by Judges Bea, Nguyen, and Benitez, in conversation with Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, about having fled their homelands to come to the United States.

There is so much more to these Judges’ stories, and those of Judges Tashima and Du, in Western Legal History 32(2): Strangers In A Strange Land.

We are so grateful to all of our sponsors for their support of this event and also of the Society throughout the year.

The Demonization of (Im)migrants:
Dust Bowl Refugees, the Supreme Court,
and the Right to Travel

With a special introduction by Hon. David G. Estudillo, Chief Judge, Western District of Washington.

Join us for an engaging presentation by lawyer, legal scholar, and historian John S. Caragozian. In 1941, in Edwards v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of California’s anti-Okie law, which, like Washington’s and other states’ laws, made it illegal to knowingly assist a pauper in entering the state.

Caragozian looks at the history preceding these laws, the Supreme Court case, and implications for the legality of cross-state border criminal enforcement today.

With Q&A session moderated by Richard Rahm, Esq., DLA Piper.

Meet the Judges of the Ninth Circuit

Meet judges of the Ninth Circuit (including some newer members) in a panel discussion as they update us on the state of court operations, discuss best practices for briefing and oral argument, and more.

Watch the full program here!

Panelists (listed left to right):

  • Hon. Daniel A. Bress | A native of Gilroy, California, Judge Bress graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Law Review. Following law school, Judge Bress clerked for the Honorable J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Honorable Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Bress was then a lawyer private practice, first at Munger Tolles & Olson and later at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he was a litigation partner. Judge Bress has also taught law school courses at the University of Virginia School of Law and the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University. Judge Bress was nominated and confirmed to the Ninth Circuit in 2019.
  • Hon. Consuelo M. Callahan | Judge Callahan began her lifelong career in public service in California as a deputy city attorney, followed by 10 years as a deputy district attorney and supervisory district attorney. Judge Callahan joined the State Court bench in 1986, first as a Commissioner in Municipal Court, then as a Superior Court Judge, and finally as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, before she was appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush in 2003. Her chambers are in Sacramento.
  • Hon. Gabriel P. Sanchez | Prior to his appointment to the Ninth Circuit, Judge Sanchez was an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District. Before joining the bench, Judge Sanchez served as Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary to California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr, Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice, and as an associate for Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP at its San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. Judge Sanchez received his B.A. from Yale University (1998), M.Phil. from Cambridge University (2000), and J.D. from Yale Law School (2005). He was a Fulbright scholar in 1999 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he surveyed and wrote about presidential electoral campaign politics. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard A. Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Sanchez was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden in September 2021 and confirmed by the United States Senate on January 12, 2022.

Moderated by Asim Bhansali, Esq., Kwun Bhansali Lazarus LLP

“My Name is Pauli Murray”: Panel Discussion & Movie Pass

Join us for a panel discussion featuring the filmmaker, Betsy West, and a discussion about the documentary on groundbreaking civil rights attorney Pauli Murray, a non-binary Black lawyer, activist and poet who influenced both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall.

After a welcome by Chief Judge Ricardo Martinez, the panel explores current issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in the law starting from the lens of Pauli Murray’s legal and personal journey.

Watch the full program here! Stream the documentary!

Meet the panelists:

Arizona’s Women in the Law:
Going First and Going Forward

Where have we been and where are we now? Join our distinguished panel as they discuss what it was like to be the first woman in a particular role in the law. Our panelists also will provide us with their insights into how things have (or have not) changed. 


  • Chief Justice Ruth McGregor (ret.) | Chief Justice McGregor served on the Arizona Supreme Court from February 1998 until June 30, 2009. She was the Court’s Chief Justice from June 2005 until her retirement. She was also a member of the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1989 until 1998, where she served as Chief Judge from 1995 to 1997. She served as law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor during Justice O’Connor’s first term on the United States Supreme Court.
  • Hon. Mary Murguia | Judge Murguia is the Ninth Circuit’s twelfth chief judge, the first judge of Hispanic descent to serve as chief judge of the Ninth Circuit, and the second woman to hold the position on the court.
  • Hon. Mary Schroeder | Among many other roles, Judge Schroeder served as the first female chief judge of the Ninth Circuit from 2000 to 2007. Judge Schroeder served both as moderator and as a panelist for this program.
  • Patricia Refo | Patricia Refo is the Immediate Past President of the American Bar Association. She also has served as Chair of the ABA House of Delegates and the ABA Section of Litigation; on the Arizona Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence, and is a former member of the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Evidence of the United States Judicial Conference.

Patricia Refo shares what it was like when Sandra Day O’Connor was selected as the first woman to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Watch the full program here! Watch more women in the law programs

Voting Rights: Then, Now, and Tomorrow

Voting is the cornerstone of democracy! Join us as this unparalleled panel of experts looks at voting rights in our country, both historically and into the future. They will examine federal and state voting laws, as well as the different tools used to increase (or suppress) voter turnout and access.


  • Hon. Thelton Henderson (ret.)
  • Pam Karlan
  • Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
  • Professor Brian Landsberg
Watch the full program here!

Presented by the Northern District of California Historical Society, co-sponsored by the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, the Northern District Practice Program and the Northern District of California chapter of the FBA.

“Tinkering” with Student Speech:
Courts and the First Amendment

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that students “do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate,” but the exact parameters of that freedom have been the subject of numerous court opinions.


  • Judge M. Margaret McKeown, author of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Dariano v. Morgan Hills Unified School District
  • UCLA Law Prof. Eugene Volokh, author of an amicus brief in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.
  • Mary Beth Tinker, plaintiff in the seminal Tinker v. Des Moines case and veteran speaker on the issue of student free speech

Mary Beth Tinker tells the story of how she, her siblings, and other middle and high school students wore black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. Despite adults and the school district telling them not to do so, Tinker and others were determined to fight for what they believed in.

Watch the full program here!

Book Talk with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
and Dahlia Lithwick

The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society and the Northern District Historical Society invite you to join us as renowned legal scholar and Berkeley Law’s Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, and Slate’s Amicus podcast host, Dahlia Lithwick, discuss Chemerinsky’s latest book, Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights.


  • Erwin Chemerinsky is the Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He is the author of 12 books and over 250 law review articles. 
  • Dahlia Lithwick is a senior editor at Slate, where she has written her “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence” columns since 1999She is host of “Amicus,” Slate’s award-winning biweekly podcast about the law and the Supreme Court.

Dean Chemerinsky responds to the question:
Other than the Supreme Court , where might one look for police reform policies?  

Watch the full program here!

SCOTUS in Focus

NJCHS Program Chair Cynthia Jones moderated a conversation between Professors Leah Litman, Melissa Murray and Kate Shaw, hosts of the Strict Scrutiny podcast.  What were significant cases from this term and what might we expect from the Court going forward? How might the Biden Commission’s work compare to New Deal efforts at Court-packing, which ended with the “Switch in Time that Saved Nine”? Tune in to find out!


  • Leah Litman is an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School. Leah researches and writes about the Supreme Court, federal post-conviction review and habeas corpus, and the construction of federalism and the separation of powers.
  • Melissa Murray is a Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, where she teaches constitutional law, family law, criminal law, and reproductive rights and justice and writes about the legal regulation of intimate life. 
  • Kate Shaw is a Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, in New York City. She teaches Legislation, Administrative Law, and a seminar on the Supreme Court, and writes about executive power, the law of democracy, and reproductive rights and justice.

Moderator: Cynthia Jones, Esq.

Prof. Leah Litman provides a broad overview of some themes of this Supreme Court term. 

Watch the full program here! Tune in on the Strict Scrutiny podcast!

The Demonization of (Im)migrants: Dust Bowl Refugees and the Supreme Court

At the height of the Great Depression, California passed an “Anti-Okie” law, making it a misdemeanor to knowingly assist a pauper in entering the state. Edwards was convicted under this law after he had driven to Texas and then returned to California with his indigent brother-in-law.

Presented by the Northern District of California Historical Society, co-sponsored by the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society and the California Supreme Court Historical Society.

Welcome and introduction by Richard Rahm.

Presentation by lawyer and legal scholar and historian John S. Caragozian, centering on the constitutionality of California’s anti-Okie law in the 1941 United States Supreme Court case, Edwards v. California.

Watch the full program here!

Ninth Circuit Cowboy

Join us for a special presentation by two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker Terry Sanders, in conversation with Judge Harry Pregerson’s children, CDCA Judge Dean Pregerson and Katie Rodan.  They will discuss Judge Pregerson’s judicial philosophy, and his roles as a mentor, an ethical leader on and off the bench, and as a father.  Sanders will address the process of capturing all of that in his outstanding new documentary “9TH CIRCUIT COWBOY, The Long Good Fight of Harry Pregerson.”

Katie Rodan discusses the inspirational message of the film, and reflects on Judge Pregerson’s accomplishments.

Watch the full program here! Stream the film on Amazon Prime

Courts during COVID

There is no question that 2020 was a difficult year for the courts, lawyers and litigants.  But it also presented opportunities for courts to experiment with innovative technologies and explore alternatives to in-person proceedings.  The NJCHS and the FBA of the Western District of Washington present a two-part CLE series in which all-star panels of judges, lawyers and court personnel from across the Ninth Circuit discuss the challenges of 2020, the unexpected successes that were achieved, and to what extent new technologies and procedures may remain relevant post-COVID. 

Program 1: Challenges and Successes

A distinguished group of panelists discuss the challenges that were overcome to keep the Courts open during the COVID pandemic, and the surprising innovations/experiences that may carry over in the future.


  • Chief Judge Phyllis Hamilton
  • Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman
  • Magistrate Judge Candy Dale
  • Susan Gelmis
  • Kiry Gray
  • Mo Hamoudi
  • Alexander Samuels

Moderator: Judge Virginia Phillips

Watch the full program here!

Program 2: Trials Over Zoom

Esteemed panelists discuss remote trials in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, sharing important resources for all across the Ninth Circuit.


  • Judge Marsha J. Pechman
  • Judge Robert S. Lasnik (WDWA),
  • Michael S. Wampold
  • Mark P. Walters

Moderator:  Judge Barbara J. Rothstein

Watch the full program here!

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