The Thomas E. Fairchild Lecture

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Thomas E. Fairchild


1912 - 2007

Judge Fairchild was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1956 and served from January 1957 to August 1966. Although reelected in 1966, he did not serve a second term because on August 11, 1966, President Johnson appointed Judge Fairchild circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He began service on August 24, 1966, and served as chief judge from February 7, 1975, to July 1, 1981. Judge Fairchild took senior status on August 31, 1981, and until his death, served as a senior circuit judge for the Seventh Circuit and, by designation, for eight other federal circuit courts.

Judge Fairchild attended Deep Springs College and Princeton University and received an A.B. degree from Cornell University in 1934. Graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1937, he received his LL.B. after completing office practice in 1938. He served as Attorney General of Wisconsin, 1948-1951, and United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, 1951-1952. He also acted as chairman of the Governor's Commission on Constitutional Revision, 1960-1965, served on the Judicial Conference Committee on Administration of the Probation System, 1969-1972 and was a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1975-1981. Judge Fairchild received honorary degrees from the University of Wisconsin, St. Norbert's College, Carthage College and the John Marshall Law School.

Judge Fairchild was a member of the American Bar Association; the state bar associations of Wisconsin and Illinois (honorary); the Federal and Seventh Circuit Bar Associations; the Milwaukee, Chicago, and Dane County Bar Associations; the James E. Doyle Inn of Court (honorary); the American Judicature Society; the Institute of Judicial Administration; and the American Law Institute, where he served on its council. Judge Fairchild also regularly and enthusiastically attended the annual meeting of the Tri-County Bar Association.

Judge Fairchild and his wife, Eleanor (also deceased), had four children: Edward T. Fairchild, Susan Fairchild Chase, Jennifer Fairchild Lord and Andrew D. Fairchild; eight grandchildren: Elliot T. Fairchild, Justin M. Fairchild, Laura K. Chase, Thomas E. Chase, Mitchell F. Watson, Robyn L. Fairchild, Ned A. Fairchild and Emily A. Fairchild; and four great-grandchildren: Zachary S. Watson, Andrew Watson, Kaylin Watson and Nicole Watson.

Thomas E. Fairchild Lecture

The Thomas E. Fairchild Lectureship was established in 1988 at the University of Wisconsin Law School as a tribute to Judge Fairchild. Judge Fairchild, a 1937 UW Law School graduate, was Wisconsin Attorney General, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, circuit judge, justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and then later chief judge and ultimately senior circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit until his death on February 12, 2007. For 50 years, Judge Fairchild demonstrated both a scholarly regard for those principles of law that generations have molded into the American definition of justice and equality and a remarkable sensitivity to the ever-changing human conditions that make the search for justice and equality an ongoing one.

Initiated by Judge Fairchild’s former law clerks, the lectureship brings to the University of Wisconsin Law School a distinguished member of the legal profession — from the bench, bar, or academia — to speak on a topic of importance to the profession.

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2017 Fairchild Lecture

The Erosion of Civil Rights and What to Do about It


The Honorable Lynn Adelman

4 p.m.
Friday, April 7, 2017

Godfrey & Kahn Hall, Room 2260
University of Wisconsin Law School
975 Bascom Mall, Madison, Wisconsin

Reception immediately following

Online Registration

For more information: 
Contact Jini Jasti at or 608-263-7906

About the Honorable Lynn Adelman

Lynn Adelman is a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He was appointed in 1997 by President Clinton. Before becoming a judge, he handled many constitutional law cases as a lawyer in New York City and Milwaukee. He argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, that hate crime penalty enhancers violated the First Amendment. He also argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in cases regarding the governor’s line item veto power, a criminal defendant’s right to bail, the right to counsel of indigent parents facing termination of their parental rights, and more. Judge Adelman served as a Wisconsin state senator for 20 years, where he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. As a judge, he has authored many opinions on federal sentencing. He has also published articles on a number of subjects, including sentencing, federal habeas corpus, Justice Thurgood Marshall and extremist speech on the internet. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia University Law School.

Directions to the Law School and Parking Information

Parking: We recommend people park in either Lot 7 under the Grainger Hall School of Business at the corner of University Avenue and Brooks St.(entrance to Lot 7 is on Brooks Street.) and the Lake Street Ramp, located on N. Lake Street. [More Campus Parking Info]

Previous Fairchild Lectures

1988 Justice John Paul Stevens, "A Judge's Use of History"
1989 David S. Ruder, "The Development of Legal Doctrine Through Amicus Participation: The SEC Experience"
1990 Judge Kenneth W. Starr: ”The Court of Appeals and the Future of the Federal Judiciary"
1991 Judge Harry T. Edwards, "The Judicial Function and the Elusive Goal of Principled Decision Making"
1993 Judge Mary Schroeder, "Appellate Justice: Fairness or Formulas"
1994 Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, “Refreshing Institutional Memories: Wisconsin and the American Law Institute"
1995 Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, "The Life of the Law: Principles of Logic and Experience from the United States"
1996 John P. Frank, "The Shelf Life of Justice Hugo L. Black"
1997 Sol M. Linowitz, "Moment of Truth for the Legal Profession"
1998 Judge Lawrence Walsh, "The Future of the Independent Counsel Statute"
1999 Professor Marc Galanter, "Old and in the Way: The Demographic Transformation of the Legal Profession and Its Implications for the Delivery of Legal Services"
Stephen B. Bright, "Will the Death Penalty Remain Alive in the Twenty-First Century?"
Professor Elizabeth Warren, "The Market for Data: The Changing Role of Social Sciences in Shaping the Law"
Judge Patrick Lucey, Sen. Gaylord Nelson, Ellen Proxmire, and Alexander Shashko, "Revitalization of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in the Mid-20th Century"
2003 Judge Reena Raggi, "The Role of District Courts"
2004 Michael Traynor, "Citizenship in a Time of Repression"
2005 Sen. Russ Feingold, "Upholding an Oath to the Constitution: A Legislator's Responsibilities"
Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow, "Thomas E. Fairchild: A Judge's Legacy"
2007 Judge Diane Wood, "Snapshots from the Seventh Circuit: Continuity and Change, 1966 to 2007”
2008 U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, "Thoughts On How the Legal System Treats Jurors"
Scott Turow, "It's Only Words:  Thoughts of a Lawyer and a Novelist"
2010 John Skilton, "Abraham Lincoln, A Lawyer for the Ages"
2011 Judge William K. Sessions III, "Federal Sentencing Policy: A Path For The Future"
2012 Professor Michael J. Zimmer, "Inequality, Individualized Risk and Insecurity"
2013 Judge William J. Bauer, "The War on Drugs"
2014 Collins T. Fitzpatrick, " Protecting the Fourth Amendment So We Do Not Sacrifice Freedom for Security"
2015 R. Nils Olsen, Jr., "All in the Family: A Legacy of Public Service and Engagement—Edward and Thomas Fairchild”

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