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Sondock Lecture at UH Law Center Focuses on States’ Role in Landmark High Court Decisions 

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


HOUSTON - Jan. 30, 2020 Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will argue during a lecture Feb. 3 at the University of Houston Law Center that giving greater weight to state constitutions and court rulings would lead to a better balance of power between state and federal courts.

The judge’s talk, based on his book, “51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law,” is the year’s first Justice Ruby Kless SondockJurist-in-Residence Lectureship in Legal Ethics.

Sutton maintains that most discussions of constitutional guarantees center on U.S. Supreme Court decisions, failing to mention that many of the protections originated in state constitutions and how state court rulings greatly influenced the high court’s landmark rulings.

Law Center Professor David R. Dow, Cullen Professor of Law, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby will provide commentary.

Sutton was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the Sixth Circuit court based in Cincinnati, Ohio, since 1983. He served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and Antonin Scalia, as well as Judge Thomas Meskill of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He received a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law.

The Jurist-In-Residence program is named in honor of Justice Ruby Kless Sondock, a trailblazer in the law who graduated as valedictorian and one of only five women in the UH law school class of 1962. After practicing law for many years, Sondock was appointed to the 234th District Court in 1977, making her the first female state district judge in Harris County. She was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 1982, making her the first woman to serve in a regular session of the court. She was proclaimed a "Texas Legal Legend" by the litigation section of the State Bar of Texas in 2016.

The lecture will be from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 3, in Room 109 of the University of Houston Law Center Bates Law Building, 4604 Calhoun Road.

Attendees will receive 1 hour of CLE credit with one hour Ethics.  For further information and to register, click here.

Media contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184,; Elena Hawthorne, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-1125,; John T. Kling, Communications Manager, 713-743-8298,; and John Brannen, Senior Writer, 713-743-3055,

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 About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) is a dynamic, top tier law school located in the nation’s 4th largest city. UHLC’s Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Part-time programs rank in the U.S. News Top 10. It awards Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees, through its academic branch, the College of Law. The Law Center is more than just a law school. It is a powerful hub of intellectual activity with more than 11 centers and institutes which fuel its educational mission and national reputation. UHLC is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

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