ISU Headlines

Eminent New York attorney, presidential power expert to deliver lectures at ISU

Posted November 13, 2007

Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., an eminent New York attorney and author who served on the 1976 Church Committee, will make two Idaho State University presentations on Thursday, Nov. 15, and Friday, Nov. 16.

The topic of his lectures will be related to his new book, “Unchecked and Unbalanced:  Presidential Power in a Time of Terror.” Schwarz is senior counsel at the Brennen Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. His distinguished legal career spans four decades, and includes serving as chief counsel on the Frank Church Committee that investigated abuses and executive overreach during the Watergate era.

On Nov. 15, Schwarz will deliver the first annual Patricia L. McDermott Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the ISU Pond Student Union Building Wood River Room. The lecture is free and the public is invited. Pi Sigma Alpha, the ISU political science honor society, is the lecture’s sponsor.

Then on Nov. 16, Schwarz will give a 2007 Eli M. Oboler Library lecture celebrating intellectual freedom, sponsored by the library and the Friends of Oboler Library. The dinner and speech will be held at the Holiday Inn on Bench Road in Pocatello. Schwarz will address executive power, and recent dangerous trends in its uses. The evening will begin with a 6 p.m. social, dinner at 6:30 p.m. and Schwarz will speak at 7:30 p.m. For tickets at $25 each, contact ISU Library Administration Office at 282-2997.

Schwarz’s study on the expansion of executive power in the wake of 9/11, “Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror,” was published last spring, by New Press, to critical acclaim.

His legal career spans four decades and includes arguments before the United States Supreme Court and duties as chief legal counsel for the 1976 U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, often referred to as the Sen. Frank Church Committee. Schwarz, who earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University, also served as head attorney for the City of New York.

The inaugural Patricia L. McDermott Lecture  celebrates the life and career of  Patty McDermott,  a prominent Pocatello attorney and longtime representative in the Idaho Legislature. McDermott graduated from ISU in 1958 with a degree in political science, She earned her law degree at George Washington University in 1961.  While in Washington she worked for U.S. Sen. Frank Church.  She proceeded to earn a master’s degree in labor law from Georgetown University in 1964, and went to work as in-house counsel for the United Planning Organization, a group created by the District of Columbia’s Crime and Control Act to battle the “War on Poverty” from 1964 to 1965.

McDermott returned to Idaho and became a member of the Idaho State Bar in 1966 and opened, with her father, the firm of McDermott and McDermott. She served for many years as deputy public defender of the Sixth Judicial District, and as secretary-treasurer of the Sixth District Bar Association in 1968.

McDermott served as a Democratic legislator in the Idaho Legislature from 1969 through 1991, in the House, and a term in the Senate, beginning in 1991. She was the first woman in the Idaho Legislature to serve in a leadership position when she was named minority leader in 1975.  An active alumna of ISU, McDermott held various offices in the ISU Alumni Association and served a term as its president.