Supreme Court Watch: "Persons, Houses, Papers, and Effects"

Vol. 35 No. 4


Edwin P. Voss, Jr. is a partner in the Richardson, Texas, law firm Brown & Hofmeister, and is the Chair of the Section.


Definition : Uniquely or highly significant; momentous; unparalleled.


“All I did was answer the phone.” So begins the humble response of Immediate Past Chair Dwight Merriam to the thanks given to him for initially connecting with the ABA Section of Public Contract Law. That connection began the year-long process of planning the Section’s Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., this past April to occur in conjunction with the Section of Public Contract Law’s 7th Annual State & Local Procurement Symposium. With gratitude, I extend heartfelt thanks to Public Contract Law’s Missy Copeland, Jeff Eckland, and, of course, Chair Carol Park-Conroy, for their hard work in making our joint programming a huge success. The following members of our own Section also worked very hard to produce program topics that were beneficial to both groups: Lai Sun Yee, Ron Kramer, Marti Chumbler, Donna Frazier, Nikelle Meade, Michael Donaldson, and a special note of thanks to our ABA YLD Liaison, Michael Kamprath, who provided two different presentations during our one very full day of presentations. Of course, we do not want to overlook our own ABA staff, Tamara Edmonds Askew and Marsha Boone, and their counterpart from Public Contract Law, Marilyn Neforas, all of whom kept us on time and on target. Our combined day of events ended Friday evening with a relaxing and enjoyable dinner cruise on the Potomac River. Thank goodness Dwight Merriam answers his phone! Plans are already underway for a repeat collaborative venture with the Section of Public Contract Law for our Spring Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, next year, May 2–5, 2013.

Did this joint effort reveal that our two Sections are fungible? Of course not. If anything, the exercise tended to underscore the special strengths and differences inherent in the services provided by both groups. For years, however, ABA leadership has urged different ABA groups to join forces, where possible, to provide enhanced services to the members of both entities. During Thursday’s networking reception on the rooftop of the ABA’s building in D.C., we were treated to appearances by ABA Executive Director Jack Rives and SOC Chair Ginger Busby. As a result of Mr. Rives’s and Ms. Busby’s visits to our reception, the highest levels of ABA leadership were able to witness firsthand some of the results of the hard work that went into our combined meeting and programming with the Section of Public Contract Law. Congratulations to everyone on a job well done!

Our next set of events and programming is coming up soon, in August, when the ABA Annual Meeting returns to “home base”: Chicago. Few cities have as many nicknames: “The Windy City,” “The Second City,” “Chi-Town,” “Hog Butcher for the World,” “City of Big Shoulders,” “The City That Works,” and the list goes on. By whatever name one uses, Chicago has much to offer to those of us who will be there in August, from enjoying music, enjoying the arts, shopping on The Magnificent Mile, watching sports, learning about the varied architecture, and more.

The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837 (so noted on the Great Seal of the City). The name “Chicago” is derived from a French rendering of the Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa, translated as “wild onion” or “wild garlic.” Around 1679, Robert de LaSalle referred to the site of the current City of Chicago as “Checagou.” Interesting note: in the 19th century, Chicago became the nation’s railroad center (a title it still holds, frankly). In 1883, the standardized system of North American Time Zones was adopted by the general time convention of railway managers in Chicago. Thus began our uniform system for telling time.

A full schedule of Section activities are scheduled to occur during this year’s ABA Annual Meeting, August 2–5, 2012. At the time of this writing, we plan to again showcase the Crime After Crime movie (featuring our own Section leader, Nadia Costa). CLE programs include topics such as the cost of wrongful convictions; municipal regulation of drugs (including marijuana), alcohol, gambling, and other activities; eminent domain; election law issues; and much more. Please be sure you timely register with the ABA (the Section’s hotel is the Westin Chicago River North Hotel). You won’t want to miss it.

See you in Chicago!

In your service,

Ed Voss

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