Honorable Myron H. Bright - 212 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award - Eighth Circuit
2012 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award
On August 9, 2012, Myron H. Bright, U.S. Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, will receive the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award at the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference in Kansas City, MO. The award honors individuals in participating federal circuits whose life and practice exemplify the highest character, integrity, and dedication to the principles of the legal profession and the rule of law. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge William Jay Riley will present the award.
Bright, a 1947 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Law, was a trial lawyer at Wattam, Vogel, Vogel, Bright & Peterson in Fargo, ND for 21 years before being appointed to the Eighth Circuit by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. Over the years, Bright has also heard cases as a visiting judge in the Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits and presided over federal district court trials in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and North Dakota.
Bright has participated in more than 6000 federal cases and has written more than 2000 opinions, many of them signed, others per curiam or unsigned. Judge Bright has served 44 years as a federal judge and is the longest serving Eighth Circuit judge in the court’s history. He presently is the most senior circuit judge in the country still hearing cases. In addition to judging over these years, particularly after taking senior status in June of 1985, Judge Bright also has served the cause of legal education. Bright has taught trial and appellate advocacy at Saint Louis University School of Law as a distinguished
professor (1985-90) and professor emeritus (1990-1995).
He was the developer of the jurists-in-residence programs at many major law schools in the country, in which, with participating U.S. Supreme Court Justices or other federal or state judges, the law students learned about decisionmaking in courts of this country from actual decisionmakers. In addition, the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, in 2007, initiated an international jurists-in-residence program for alternate years named after Judge Bright with the first program participants being retired president of the Israeli Supreme Court, Aharan Barak, and Judge Bright.
Judge Bright has served on such boards as the Federal Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules (1989-1990) and U.S. Judicial Conference Committees including the Probation Committee (1977-1983) and the International Judicial Relations Committee (IJRC) (1996-2003). In this latter committee, on behalf of the committee as well as the U.S. State Department, in 2002, he travelled to Sweden and Latvia and met with judiciaries in those countries and lectured to law students. In 2007, the State Department sponsored his travel and meetings in the Middle East to discuss judicial education with representatives of courts in Israel and the United Arab Emirates and to lecture at the University of Sharjah College of Law, a prominent Arab country law school. In addition, Judge Bright has taught legal subjects and practice to visiting foreign judges, lawyers, and government personnel, especially from China and Russia, and lectured and participated in legal training of foreign law students attending American law schools.
In the United States he has lectured over 100 times to lawyers and judges on the subjects of trial advocacy, appellate advocacy, evidence, and judicial and lawyer ethics. He has written scores of articles for legal magazines and law reviews and has co-authored a leading text on evidence with Professor Ronald L. Carlson of the University of Georgia School of Law and Professor Edward Imwinkelried of the University of California-Davis School of Law. That text entitled “Objections at Trial” is now in it sixth edition since first published in 1990.
Among the numerous honors he has received are the Frances Rawle Award for continuing professional education from the ABA and American Law Institute, the American Judicature Society’s Herbert Harley Award for promoting effective administration of justice, the State Bar Association of North Dakota’s Liberty Bell Award for promoting citizens’ respect and obligations to the law and government, the University of North Dakota School of Law’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Minnesota Law Review’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and an honorary doctorate from North Dakota State University. The U.S. Department of State in 2008 recognized Judge Bright for his participation and support of its rule of law-related public diplomacy programs. In 2010, the Department of Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach at North Dakota State University recognized Judge Bright with its Green and Golden Globe Award for his contributions to the area of civil rights. More recently, this Department established the Judge Bright Diversity Leadership Scholarship, recognizing a student who has contributed leadership skills to North Dakota State University. This year Judge Bright will receive the Robert Feder Humanitarian Award from Temple Beth El of Fargo for promoting tolerance and understanding among all people.
Former law clerks and friends have recognized Bright’s tireless work in the law and his influence on their lives with the Honorable Myron Bright Scholarship at the University of Minnesota Law School and the Judge Myron H. and Fritzie Bright Endowment at the University of North Dakota School of Law.
In addition to the presentation at the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference, Judge Bright, as a recipient of this Professionalism Award, will be recognized at the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence at the U.S. Supreme Court on October 20, 2012. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. will host this event.