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Search for Keith Visiting Professor Begins

July 23, 2007

* Aug. 22, 2008 – Please note that building and programming specifications for the Damon J. Keith Center may have changed since this release was written. Please contact Mary Hollens, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations at (313) 577-4141 or am2674@wayne.edu with questions.

Wayne State University Law School has announced that it will begin a nationwide search for a legal scholar to be the Damon J. Keith Visiting Professor during the Fall 2008 semester.  The position is named in honor of the esteemed jurist and legendary champion of civil rights Judge Damon J. Keith, the most senior judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Keith, a celebrated alumnus, received his LL.M. from the Law School in 1956.

The Honorable Damon J. Keith was appointed to serve as a United States Court of Appeals Judge for the Sixth Circuit in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter.  Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeals, he served on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan from 1967 to 1977, where he served as Chief Judge from 1975 until he was elevated to the Court of Appeals.
As a member of the federal bench, Keith has consistently been a defender of the constitutional and civil rights of all people.  He presided over many landmark cases, most notably United States v. Sinclair, which is referred to as the Keith Decision.  In that decision, Keith ruled that President Nixon and the federal government were prohibited from engaging in warrantless wiretapping because it violated the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.  The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Keith’s decision.
 “The Keith Collection is very excited to work with the best candidate for this distinguished position.  It is critical that in our time, there are men and women ardently committed to advancing civil rights and continuing the legacy of honorable men like Judge Keith,” said Clinical Assistant Law Professor Dana Roach, who directs the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History and also heads the Small Business Clinic at the Law School.

The Keith Collection features some of the archived works of Keith and other renowned African-American civil rights lawyers and judges, is currently showcasing two traveling exhibits: “Marching Toward Justice” and “Saluting A Giant” and is preparing for its 2008 Biennial Lecture on civil rights.

“We are honored to work with Judge Damon J. Keith. We have already begun the design process for the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, a building that will transform the Law School. This position will ensure that the Keith Center is more than bricks and mortar. Together with the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History which includes the Biennial Damon J. Keith Lecture and the Marching Toward Justice and Saluting A Giant exhibits showing our civil rights progress, the Visiting Professor will ensure that our students understand the importance of equal justice to the rule of law,” said Law School Dean Frank H. Wu.

For more information on the Damon J. Keith Visiting Professor position, please contact Dean Frank H. Wu at 313-577-3933.

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