News and Information
April 27, 2010

Hate Speech Is Theme of Richmond Law Day Event

Judge Richard Williams Among Honorees

Free Speech, Fair Speech, Fear Speech is the theme of the Third Annual Law Day Conference, to be held April 30, 2010, at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond.

The event is sponsored by the Virginia Law Foundation and the museum.

The conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. During a 6-8 p.m. reception and ceremony, the Rule of Law Award will be presented to Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ilana Rovner, and senior U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams of the Eastern District of Virginia will receive the Legacy of Nuremberg Award.

The Virginia Law Foundation Rule of Law Award honors extraordinary commitment to promoting the rule of law as the foundation of peaceful, stable, and prosperous nation states.
Rovner was born in 1938 in Riga, Latvia. As an infant, she and her mother fled to the United States to escape Nazism. In 1992, President George W. Bush nominated her to the Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Senate confirmed her. She previously worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Illinois, served as deputy governor and legal counsel to the governor of Illinois, and sat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The Legacy of Nuremburg Award is given to a person who upholds the ideals of Nuremburg by his or her participation in the historic trials of war crimes there or by work to “keep alive the promise of Nuremburg, that justice knows no bounds.”

Williams served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and was stationed at Pearl Harbor when Japan bombed that port on December 7, 1941.  He received bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia.  He was a Richmond circuit judge before President Jimmy Carter nominated him to the federal bench. He took senior status in 1992, after serving for twelve years.

Conference speakers and their topics will be:

•    Dr. Susan F. Hirsch, a legal anthropologist, professor, and director of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University — “Uncivil Discourse: A Conflict Resolution Perspective.”
•    Rick Eaton, chief investigator for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles — “Method and Means of Hate- and Fear-Speech Communication.”
•    Rodney A. Smolla, dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law and president-designate of Furman University — “Constitutionally Informed Responses to Hate and Fear Speech.”

The conference is open to the public without charge. Complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served. To register, contact the Virginia Law Foundation at (804) 648-0112. A downloadable brochure is available at

Updated: Apr 28, 2010