Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Criminal defense lawyer to present lectures Sept. 16 & 17 in honor of Constitution Day

In celebration of Constitution Day 2010, Whitworth will feature two lectures by Scott McKay, a Whitworth alum and criminal defense lawyer. McKay will discuss his experiences defending terrorism suspects following Sept. 11, 2001, and the importance of protecting civil liberties even in times of perceived crisis during his lecture, "Defending the Rule of Law in a Time of Terror," on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. McKay will discuss his vocation as an attorney and will offer insights about the future of individual rights in the nation's courts on Sept. 17, at 10:25 a.m. in the Seeley G. Mudd Chapel. Admission to both lectures is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-4263.

Constitution Day, which is officially recognized on Sept. 17, is a federally recognized national celebration of the signing of the United States' government's founding document. The U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, by the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, in Philadelphia, Pa.

McKay, who graduated from Whitworth in 1986 and earned his law degree from Gonzaga University, practices criminal defense and civil litigation in federal and state courts. He has been involved in several cases that involve issues of national security, including assisting a "high value detainee" in capital proceedings before military commissions at the United States Naval Station, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He and a partner in his firm, David Nevin, were asked to undertake this representation as part of the John Adams Project, which is sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

"As combat troops leave Iraq and our presence in Afghanistan expands, we must think about our own understanding of the role of law in society," says Julia Stronks, professor of political science at Whitworth. "Our legal system is built on the premise that government must prove accusations beyond a reasonable doubt. We look forward to gaining more insight about what that means in the context of national security and criminal law."

McKay also works on complex civil litigation including pending federal litigation consolidated in New York that arises out of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, he has helped achieve multimillion-dollar settlements for clients who include current and former employees of a large retail grocery chain who brought suit in multi-state collective and class wage and hour actions, as well as a child and his parents who brought suit against the physicians and hospital responsible for the child's catastrophic birth injuries.

McKay has been admitted to practice in Idaho, California and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and various district courts throughout the United States. He also is admitted to the pool of civilian defense counsel qualified to practice before U.S. military commissions.

McKay has appeared nationally as a legal commentator for a variety of media outlets, including Court TV. He serves on the National Security Committee for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Judicial Fairness Committee for the Idaho State Bar and the Electronic Records Committee for the Idaho Supreme Court.

Constitution Day is a federally recognized national celebration of the signing of the United States' government's founding document. The U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, by the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, in Philadelphia, Pa.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,900 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Julie Shanholtzer, program assistant, Speakers & Artists Series and psychology department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4263 or jshanholtzer@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.