William & Mary Law School celebrated Constitution Day on Thursday, Sept. 20 with a lecture from The Honorable Patricia Millett, a federal judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Millett’s lecture, entitled “The Most Fragile Branch,” spoke about the importance of an independent judiciary system and the fragility of the judicial branch relative to the executive and legislative branches. She also discussed the role the courts play in the lives of the people who turn to it for justice, and the role of lawyers in creating access to justice for those who have nowhere else to turn.
Millett concluded the lecture with a reminder of the role citizens play in shaping their government and their constitution.
“What has moved the dial of constitutional history is people who, in times of adversity, clung to, and pressed unceasingly for, and demanded the vision of what this nation and our Constitution can be at their best,” Millett said.
Millett graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1985 and Harvard Law School in 1988. She served on the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division in the United States Department of Justice and as an Assistant in the Office of the Solicitor General before becoming a partner leading Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She currently serves as a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Millett remained at William & Mary Friday and Saturday to participate in the Institute of Bill of Rights Law’s Supreme Court Preview. The annual event brings together expert panels of journalists, academics, advocates, and other distinguished speakers to mark the commencement of the new term of the United States Supreme Court each fall.
William & Mary Law School hosts a Constitution Day event each year to celebrate the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.