Chief Justice John Roberts due in Prov. tomorrow

Matt has the details on tomorrow's scheduled visit by John Roberts, chief justice of the US Supreme Court, and an expected protest:

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is scheduled to visit Rhode Island this Tuesday Feb. 12th to help celebrate the centennial of the federal courthouse in downtown Providence.

BeloJo: The event will mark the first time a sitting Supreme Court chief justice has come to the state since Charles Evan Hughes was here in 1937, said Senior Circuit Judge Bruce M. Selya, a Rhode Islander who is the liaison for Roberts’ visit. 

Roberts will give the opening remarks at the celebration at 1100am in Courtroom 1 on the third floor.  The public is invited to attend.  (On a side note, before this public event, over 100 Roger Williams law students, including myself, will be having a "Conversation with the Chief.")

Outside of the courtroom at Burnside Park (in Kennedy Plaza), starting at 1030am, a broad coalition of RI community, religious, and political groups will hold a protest. According to the press release

The purpose of this action is to bring attention to the following critical demands: close the Guantanamo gulag, end all U.S. involvement in torture, end illegal spying, and restore the Bill of Rights.

Although all three branches of the Federal Government have acted to debase the very concept of justice, ordinary citizens will peacefully and solemnly gather to assert their civil liberties and invoke principles to counter the empty, congratulatory posturing behind the Roberts visit. “Since the Chief Justice is a stalwart neocon,” notes Sam Smith of East Bay MoveOn, “we fear that the Supreme Court will legitimize the roll-back of civil liberties wrought by the Bush administration”.

“As a citizen of the U.S. and member of the world community,” adds Kathy Lessuck of the RI Community Coalition for Peace, “I am saddened, sickened, and embarrassed by our practice and promotion of torture, as well as the continued existence of Guantanamo and other secret U.S. prisons throughout the world.”
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