The McCormick Lectures


The J. Byron McCormick Society for Law and Public Affairs was formed to honor the memory of J. Byron McCormick who served the State of Arizona with great distinction as President of the University of Arizona, as Dean of the University's College of Law, and as an advisor to the Arizona Board of Regents. Membership is open to interested members of the community. Lifetime membership fee is a one-time $500.00 contribution to the University of Arizona McCormick Endowment. All society members are invited to the Annual Society Dinner. If you would like to join, please contact Toni Massaro at the following e-mail address:


For a complete list of past lectures click here.


Windows Media

The 2016 McCormick Lecture Justice
Speaker: Justice Elena Kagan

Date/Time: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2016
Topic: A Conversation with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan




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Windows Media

The 2014 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Barney Frank Former U.S. Representative

Date/Time: Oct. 16, 2014
Topic: "Why We Need More Government and How We Can Pay for It"



Barney Frank served as United States Representative from Massachusetts for more than three decades, starting in 1981. An outspoken and deeply respected legislator noted for his keen sense of humor, Frank has played a key role in some of the most important legislation of our country's recent history, including the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." As Chair of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2011, Frank helped craft the compromise bill to slow the tide of home mortgage foreclosures in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, as well as the subsequent $550 billion rescue plan, and the landmark Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—the sweeping set of regulatory reforms named partly after Frank and signed into law in July 2010, to prevent the recurrence of the financial crisis.


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The 2013 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Morris Dee

Date/Time: November 8, 2012
Topic: With Justice for All



Morris Dees was born in 1936 at Shorter, Alabama, the son of cotton farmers. As a young boy he worked the fields with blacks, witnessing first-hand social and economic deprivation and Jim Crow treatment at its worst.

While at the University of Alabama Law School, he met Millard Fuller. The two formed a highly successful publishing company during their time in law school. After graduation, they moved the business to Montgomery, Alabama. Fuller left the company in 1965 and later founded Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Dees continued the business and also began taking controversial civil rights cases.

Mr. Dees sold his publishing company to a major national firm in 1970 and formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin. Early Center cases included integrating the Alabama State Troopers and desegregating the Montgomery YMCA. The Center, funded by donations from over 300,000 citizens across the nation, quickly grew into one of America's most successful and innovative public interest law firms.

In 1980, the Center founded the Intelligence Project in response to resurgence in organized racist activity. The project monitors hate groups and develops legal strategies for protecting citizens from violence-prone groups. A made-for-television movie about Mr. Dees aired on NBC. "Line of Fire" describes his successful fight against the Ku Klux Klan. It included the $7 million precedent-setting judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of the mother of Michael Donald, a young black man lynched by the Klan in Mobile, Alabama. Wayne Rogers portrayed him in the feature film, "Ghosts of Mississippi," about the murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers.


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The 2012 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Norman J. Ornstein

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Topic:"Broken Government: Where Do We Go From Here?"



Norman J. Ornstein is one of the country's best known observers of American political culture.  A resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, he also serves as an election analyst for CBS News and writes a weekly column called "Congress Inside Out" for Roll Call newspaper. He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and other major publications, and regularly appears on television programs like The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, and Charlie Rose.


His many books include The Permanent Campaign and Its Future; Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy, both with Thomas E. Mann; and Debt and Taxes: How America Got Into Its Budget Mess and What to Do About It, with John H. Makin. The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, co-authored with Thomas E. Mann, was published in August 2006 by Oxford University Press, with an updated edition in August 2008.  It was picked both by The Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as one of the best books of 2006.


His extensive experience in public service includes co-directing AEI's Election Reform Project, serving as a Senior Counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission, directing the Campaign Finance Reform Working Group, and advising the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. (A detailed biography is available at:


The J. Byron McCormick Society for Law and Public Affairs was formed to honor the memory of J. Byron McCormick, who served the State of Arizona as President of the University of Arizona, as Dean of the University's College of Law, and as an advisor to the Arizona Board of Regents. Members of the McCormick Society foster dialogue about the critical issues of our time through this annual public lecture. The Society welcomes membership applications from any interested community member. Please contact The James E. Rogers College of Law Advancement Office at 520-621-8430 for details. For more information on Norman Ornstein and the McCormick Lecture, please click here to visit our website.


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The 2011 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Neal Katyal

Date/Time: MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 20II, 12:20 - 1:20 PM
Topic: "The Constitution in Conflict, 1850-1950"



Neal Katyal is the Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of Law at Georgetown University. He is currently on leave from Georgetown and is serving as the Acting Solicitor General of the United States. Katyal previously served as National Security Adviser in the U.S. Justice Department and was commissioned by President Clinton to write a report on the need for more legal pro bono work. He also served as Vice President AI Gore's co-counsel in the Supreme Court election dispute of 2000, and represented the deans of most major private law schools in the landmark University of Michigan affirmative-action case Grutter v. Bollinger (2003).

Katyal clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as well as Judge Guido Calabresi ofthe U.S. Court ofAppeals. He attended Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. His articles have appeared in virtually every major law review and newspaper in America. Among other accolades, Katyal was named Lawyer of the Year by Lawyers USA; Runner-Up for Lawyer of the Year by National LawJournal; one ofthe 40 most influential lawyers of the past decade in the nation by the National LawJournal; one ofthe top 50 litigators nationwide 45 years old or younger byAmerican Lawyer; one of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers Over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times; one ofthe top 500 lawyers in the country by LawDragon Magazine; one of the 30 best advocates before the U.S. Supreme Court by Washingtonian Magazine; and one of l0 Non-Resident Indian Achievers Worldwide by Hindustan Times. Katyal has appeared on every major American nightly news program, as well as in other venues, such as the Colbert Report.


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Windows Media

The 2010 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Joe Nocera, Business Columnist for The New York Times

Date/Time: Mon, 11/16/09, 12:20-1:20 pm
Topic: "Lessons from the Financial Crisis"

Joe Nocera writes the Talking Business column for The New York Times each Saturday. Mr. Nocera is also a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. In addition to his work at The Times, he serves as a regular business commentator for NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.

Before joining The Times in 2005, Mr. Nocera spent 10 years at Fortune Magazine, where he held a variety of positions, including contributing writer, editor-at-large and executive editor. His last position at Fortune was editorial director. He was the Profit Motive columnist at GQ until May 1995, and he wrote the same column for Esquire from 1988 until 1990. In the 1980's, he served as a contributing editor at Newsweek, as executive editor of New England Monthly and as senior editor at Texas Monthly. From 1978 until 1980, he was an editor at The Washington Monthly.

Mr. Nocera's column ranges widely over the world of business, covering everything from Home Depot's annual meeting to Boeing's comeback to his off-beat musings about his broken iPod. Slate magazine says that his column "demystifies the world of business with original thinking, brainy reporting and the ability to see around corners."

Mr. Nocera has won three Gerald Loeb awards, including the 2008 award for commentary, and three John Hancock awards for excellence in business journalism. His book, "A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class," (Touchstone, 1995) won the New York Public Library's 1995 Helen Bernstein Award as the best non-fiction book of the year. He anchored the 1997 Frontline documentary, "Betting on the Market," which aired on PBS, and in 2003, edited "The Smartest Guys in the Room," (Portfolio, 2003) the best-selling book about Enron written by two Fortune senior writers. His most recent book, "Good Guys and Bad Guys: Behind The Scenes With The Saints and Scoundrels of American Business (and Everything In Between)" (Portfolio, 2008) was published this spring. He was a 2007 Pulitzer finalist.

Mr. Nocera earned a B.S. in journalism from Boston University in 1974. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island on May 6, 1952, and lives in New York City.

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The 2009 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: George Packer, Writer for The New Yorker

Date/Time: Tuesday March 10th, at 10:00 a.m.
Topic: "The New Liberalism"

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, which received several prizes and was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by The New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of two novels, The Half Man and Central Square, and two works of non-fiction, The Village of Waiting and Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He is the editor of The Fight Is for Democracy: Winning the War of Ideas in America and the World, and also the editor of a new two-volume edition of George Orwell's essays. His play Betrayed, based on a New Yorker article, ran in New York for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Off-Broadway Play.

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The 2008 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Richard J. Goldstone, retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Date/Time: Monday, September 10, at 10:00 a.m.
Topic: “The Consequences of the United States Abdicating its Moral and Political Leadership of the Free World.”

Justice Richard Goldstone's distinguished career in law, jurisprudence, and global policy gives him an exceptional perspective on the challenges of ensuring human rights around the world. Now retired as a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, his experience ranges from war crimes prosecution to fact-finding missions, from international investigations to human rights advocacy. He most recently authored For Humanity: Reflections of a War Crimes Investigator, (2001) Yale University Press. Justice Goldstone's many contributions to the bar, the bench, the academy and the non-governmental sector are profound and enduring.

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The 2007 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Frederick Schauer, Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government
Date/Time: Thursday, November 16, 2006 10:00am
Topic: “Should Officials Obey the Law?”

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The 2006 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: John L. McGoldrick,
Topic: “What It Means To Be A Lawyer: Professionalism In 21st Century America”

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Windows Media The 2005 Annual McCormick lecture
Speaker: Samantha Power
Topic: "Can American foreign Policy be Fixed? "

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Windows Media The 2004 J.Byron McCormick Lecture
Speaker: David Brooks:
"The Geography of American Politics."

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Windows Media The 2003 J.Byron McCormick Lecture
Speaker: Linda Greenhouse:
Topic: "The Last Days of the Rehnquist Court Rewards of Patience and Power"

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Windows Media The 2002 J.Byron McCormick Lecture
Speaker: Stephen L. Carter
Topic: "Reflections on the Separation of Church & State"

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Windows Media The 2001 J. Byron McCormick Lecture
Speaker: George Mitchell
Topic: Towards Peace in Northern Ireland

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Updated: 01/17/2018