Federal judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., will deliver Lakeland College's annual Constitution Day Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. in the Bradley Theatre. This free lecture is open to the public.
In 2004, a federal law designated Sept. 17, the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in the U.S.
Dow will deliver a lecture entitled, "The Constitution for Non-Lawyers." He will discuss background on the Constitution that reinforces his belief that everyone should have a basic understanding of the Constitution and how it informs many of the major public policy debates that shape America's place in the 21st century world. He will focus primarily on the separation of powers and the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments.
Dow has served as a United States district judge for the Northern District of Illinois since December 2007. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He serves by appointment of the chief justice on the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and as the Chair of the Rule 23 Subcommittee.
He is the current chair of the Advisory Committee on Circuit Rules for the Seventh Circuit and also serves as a member of the Rules Committee for the Northern District of Illinois. He has sat by designation on the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Seventh Circuits. He serves as a director of the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation and is heavily involved at the Cathedral of St. Raymond parish in Joliet, where he has coached youth sports for the past decade.
Prior to entering into judicial service, Dow was a partner at the Chicago law firm of Mayer Brown LLP, where he was a member of the firm's litigation, telecommunications and supreme court and appellate litigation practice groups. In 2007, Dow was listed among the top 100 lawyers in Illinois by Super Lawyers magazine, and he was named a "leading lawyer" in the field of telecommunications law in Chambers USA from 2003-2007.
Dow received a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in history and political science from Yale University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He attended the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship where he earned master's and doctorate degrees in international relations, as well as three varsity letters for basketball. He earned his law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the editorial board of the Harvard Journal on Legislation and the Harvard Human Rights Journal and a recipient of the Derek Bok Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
He lives in Joliet with his wife, Elizabeth, and their four children.