USD NALSA chapter hosts Native American Law Symposium

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The South Dakota Law Review and The University of South Dakota’s Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) chapter will host the 2010 NALSA/Law Review Symposium on Thursday, Feb. 18 beginning at 10 a.m. in the USD Law School courtroom.

“Twenty Year Anniversary of Employment Division vs. Smith: Reassessing the Free Exercise Clause and the Intersection between Religion and the Law” is the symposium topic. The Smith case involved peyote use by members of the Native American Church and its controversy became one of the Supreme Court’s most important interpretations of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The symposium docket includes two panel discussions. “Perspectives on Free Exercise Jurisprudence after Smith,” the first of the two panels, will take place at 10 a.m. Panelists include professors Marci Hamilton, Mark Kende, Chris Lund and Rick Duncan. The second panel, “Religious Free Exercise Inside and Outside Indian Country,” is at 2 p.m. and it includes Professor Matthew Fletcher as well as Zackeree Kelin and Kimberly Younce Schooley, representatives of DNA-People’s Legal Services, Inc. The NALSA/Law Review Symposium marks the first time that USD’s annual Law Review Symposium has been combined with the NALSA Indian Law Symposium, which is held biennially for more than two decades making it the longest-running Indian law symposium in the nation. The symposium panels are free and open to the public.

This scholarly event is being held just ahead of the National NALSA Moot Court Competition activities this week at The U. The National NALSA Moot Court Competition is the nation’s top Indian law academic competition as 43 NALSA teams from the United States will compete at the USD School of Law beginning this Friday. Competitors are judged by members of tribal, federal and state judiciary as well as lawyers with expertise in Indian law. The championship round on Saturday, which is slated to begin around 4 p.m. and is open to the public in the law school courtroom, will be judged by a distinguished panel that includes Chief Judge Karen Schreier of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota; U.S. District Judge Jeff Viken; retired Chief Justice Robert Miller of the South Dakota Supreme Court; South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley; and Judge Roger Wollman of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.