Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Coordinator for
Court History and
Public Education Programs

Pho: 317.233.8682

Sarah Kidwell
Outreach Coordinator

Pho: 317.234.3055


Outstanding Public
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History

More Awards

Courts in the Classroom > Legal History Lecture Series Legal History Lecture Series

The following programs were presented as a part of the Indiana Supreme Court's Legal History Lecture Series.  All were CLE approved events.  Most of the programs were webcast live and then archived.  Please follow the links below to access both the webcast and the CLE handouts.

Not from the Indianapolis area, but still interested in obtaining CLE credit for watching the webcasts of Indiana Supreme Court Legal History Series programs? Learn How.
Title Description Webcast Materials
Gideon turns 50, but Webb v. Baird is 159 In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, this CLE lecture will highlight the evolution of Indiana’s public defender system. Checkmark Checkmark
Isaac Blackford:  the Vincennes Years Blackford lived in Vincennes, from 1813-1824 and always considered it his permanent home.  This lecture will reconstruct Blackford’s life in Vincennes during the last years of the Indiana Territory and the early years of Statehood. Checkmark Checkmark
Indianapolis Women Working for the Right to Vote: the Forgotten Drama of 1917 Following the passage of Maston-McKinley Suffrage Bill, in the fall of 1917, between 30,000 and 40,000 Indianapolis women registered to vote.   Checkmark Checkmark
Pioneer Justice At the same time that anti-black sentiment seemed to growing in the State, several little known cases involving African Americans were working their way through the local courts.  The presentation will focus on a few of these early cases.  Checkmark Checkmark
Selected Cases from Indiana in the U.S. Supreme Court This presentation led by Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr. and his Inn of Court team, will focus on several different cases from Indiana decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Checkmark Checkmark
Celebrating Black History:  the Life and Times of Dred Scott This event will examine the life and case of Dred Scott in which every Justice besides Taney wrote a separate concurrence or dissent.  Scott's great-great-granddaughter will also offer her perspective.   Checkmark
Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court - Lafayette A free CLE worth 1.5 credit hours. Presentation will center on a 467-page anthology examining the lives of the 106 men and women how have sat on the state's highest court; speakers include authors from the book.    
Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court To celebrate the release of Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court by the Indiana Historical Society Press, the Indiana Supreme Court will hold a free CLE event on Thursday, March 3, 2010 from 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm in the Indiana Supreme Court Courtroom. Checkmark  
2011: The Northwest Ordinance, Slavery, and Indiana
This year's session will examine the presence of the institution of slavery in Indiana despite its prohibition by both the Northwest Ordinance and the Indiana Constitution. The topic of slavery in Indiana with a special emphasis on new details about the case of State v. Lasselle will be discussed. Checkmark Checkmark
Celebrating Black History The session will include a general overview of judicial selection and the operation of Indiana Supreme Court (e.g., cases accepted for transfer, assignment of cases for oral argument, etc.), and a presentation about a very specific Indiana lawyer - John Morton Finney.    Checkmark
Interbranch Disharmony: State ex rel. Mass Transit Authority v. Indiana Revenue Board State ex rel. Mass Transp. Authority v. Indiana Revenue Board culminated in 1970 with an epic showdown between Indiana's judicial and executive branches when the Indiana Appellate Court ordered the State Auditor jailed for contempt. Checkmark Checkmark
Jesse W. Weik: The Young Indiana Lawyer Who Made Herndon's Lincoln Possible Jesse Weik will be the focus of this lecture.  Weik, a lawyer from Greencastle, Indiana, partnered with William H. Herndon to write the authoritative Lincoln biography. Over his lifetime, Weik was a prominent citizen of his home state, a leading advocate of the independent telephone movement, and a preeminent authority on Lincoln. Checkmark Checkmark
My Place is in the Voting Booth: Hoosier Suffragette Helen M. Gougar This lecture will highlight the work of Helen M. (Jackson) Gougar of Lafayette, Indiana. In 1897, Gougar became one of the first women to argue in front of the Indiana Supreme Court. The case, Gougar v. Timberlake, focused on the failure of the Tippecanoe County election board to allow Gougar to vote in an 1894 local election. Checkmark Checkmark
Justice Richard M. Givan This lecture will honor Justice Richard M. Givan's service to the Indiana Supreme Court from January 1, 1969 to December 31, 1994. Checkmark Checkmark
2009: 222 Years of Unsettled Borders: Indiana and the Northwest Ordinance
This year's session explores the controversial establishment of the Michigan-Indiana Border and discussion of the 1817 Harris line and the 1827 Kendrick survey.  These lines are ten miles apart. On May 7, 2009, Governor Daniels signed into law Senate Bill 530 providing for the establishment of a new Indiana-Michigan Boundary Commission.  What might be the legal ramifications if the line has been mismarked? Checkmark Checkmark
How Lawyers Help Preserve Land This lecture, to be held on Earth Day 2009, will focus on the various ways that lawyers help preserve Indiana's natural heritage through their work with different land trusts, estate planning, and conservation options for private landowners. The session will focus on both why we should work to preserve historic land and structures and some basic how-tos. Checkmark Checkmark
Why It Mattered That Lincoln Was a Lawyer - Abraham Lincoln, the Law & Civic Education February 2009 marks the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln's birth.  The Indiana Supreme Court is pleased to join in the national celebration with this special lecture featuring Professor Brian Dirck, author of Lincoln the Lawyer

The session will conclude by providing attendees with information about how lawyers can volunteer to visit classrooms in February 2009 to talk to students about why Lincoln thought every citizen should "know a little about the law."  
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2008: 221 Years of Unsettled Borders: Indiana and the Northwest Ordinance This year's program will concentrate on Indiana's southern border - the Ohio River.  A specialist will examine and discuss the primary sources that demonstrate how the border was originally documented, and how the border does not change despite changes in the course of the river.  With this information as a backdrop, the rest of the presentation will be related to commercial activities on the Indiana shoreline between Indiana and Kentucky including a dispute over discharges from the Marble Hill Nuclear Power Plant in Madison, Indiana. Checkmark Checkmark
International Prosecution of War Crimes, Genocide, & Crimes Against Humanity This program will discuss the differences between and among war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The featured speakers, Judge Vaidik and Professor Edwards, have recent and direct experience with this topic including the training of UN prosecutors (Vaidik) and working on the defense teams for the Slobodan Milosevic and for Guantanamo Bay detainees (Edwards). Checkmark Checkmark
Hoosier Justice at Nuremberg This program will highlight the service of former Indiana Supreme Court Justices Frank Richman and Curtis Shake who were a part of the American judicial presence at the Nuremberg tribunals.  It will also include a brief overview of the current international crisis in Kenya and whether or not military tribunals might become necessary. Checkmark Checkmark
Slavery and the Indiana Supreme Court: For and Against? This program features Professor Paul Finkelman - a nationally recognized speaker on topics related to slavery and the law. Professor Finkelman will discuss the complexity of the fight for and against slavery in Indiana and the United States in the 19th century. Checkmark Checkmark
Mendez v. Westminster : "Para Todos Los Niños"
School Segregation in the post-Brown Era?
This Law Day 2007 Celebration event examines a California school segregation case that predates Brown v. Board of Education. Checkmark Checkmark
"Three Generations of Imbeciles are Enough":
Reflections on 100 Years of Eugenics in Indiana
This panel discussion, with supporting materials, about the history of Indiana's eugenics laws, was held in conjunction with the Indiana Eugenics Centenary. Checkmark Checkmark
Accessing Indiana's Past: Isaac Blackford and 19th Century Slavery Cases Showcases the Court's efforts to develop new ways to access information about Indiana 's legal past including: a searchable database of early Indiana cases, dramatic re-enactments about the lives of key figures in Indiana legal history, and a biography series about Indiana lawyers and judges. Checkmark Checkmark
The History of Indiana Law This CLE program features a panel of contributors from the just released The History of Indiana Law. The book is a collection of 15 essays covering a wide range of topics including: Indiana 's constitutional tradition, civil liberties, race relations, women's rights, family law, welfare and the poor, education, crime and punishment, juvenile justice, the role of the courts and judiciary, and landmark cases. Checkmark Checkmark