Marquette University News Release

Judge Paul J. Watford to examine landmark Supreme Court civil rights case in Hallows Lecture

February 25, 2014

Event Information:
Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Place: Marquette Law School, Eckstein Hall

MILWAUKEE – Judge Paul J. Watford of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will present “Screws v. United States and the Birth of Federal Civil Rights Enforcement” for Marquette Law School’s Hallows Lecture Tuesday, March 4, at 4:30 p.m. in Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan Street.

Watford will explore the history of the case, a harbinger of social change in the South, and its impact on modern civil rights litigation.

Seating is limited; registration is available online.

In Screws v. United States, a deeply fractured U.S. Supreme Court held, for the first time, that the federal government could prosecute police officers who abused the authority conferred on them by state law.

The 1945 case resulted from the beating and killing of an African-American man, Robert Hall, by white police officers in Georgia. The social and political shifts brought about by World War II propelled Hall’s case to the Court, and the ruling that followed dramatically altered the relationship between the states and the federal government.

Watford was nominated to the federal appellate bench by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2012. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

He began his legal career by clerking for Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court. He practiced law in Los Angeles both in the private sector and for the government as an assistant U.S. Attorney.

The annual Hallows Lecture remembers E. Harold Hallows, a Milwaukee lawyer and distinguished member of the faculty of Marquette University Law School for 28 years and a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1958 until his retirement as Chief Justice in 1974.

Media interested in attending should contact Chris Jenkins in the Office of Marketing and Communication at (414) 288-4745 or

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About Chris Jenkins

Chris Jenkins

Chris is a senior writer/editor in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Contact Chris at (414) 288-4745 or View all posts by .