To Be Delivered By
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Former Attorney General of the United States

With Additional Remarks By
Karl A. Racine
Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Thursday, November 5, 2015 — 5:00 p.m.
United States Courthouse, Ceremonial Courtroom
333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
A reception will follow in the Courthouse Atrium.

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Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Former Attorney General of the United States

This year’s Flannery Lecture will be delivered by Eric H. Holder, Jr., former Attorney General of the United States from February 2009 to April 2015. As the third longest-serving Attorney General in U.S. history and the first African American to hold that Office, Mr. Holder was an internationally recognized leader across a broad range of regulatory, enforcement, criminal justice, and national security issues. In 2014, Time magazine named Mr. Holder to its list of 100 most influential people, noting that he had “worked tirelessly to ensure equal justice.” Including his tenure as Attorney General, Mr. Holder has served in government for more than thirty years. His prior positions include Deputy Attorney General, United States Department of Justice (1997-2001); United States Attorney for the District of Columbia (1993-1997); Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (1988-1993); and trial attorney, Public Integrity Section, United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division (1976-1988). Mr. Holder recently returned to the partnership he left to become Attorney General, in the Washington office of Covington & Burling.

Karl A. Racine

Attorney General for the District of Columbia

In addition, and following in the tradition of other senior public officials who have spoken about the status of their particular offices, Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, will speak on the state of that office. Attorney General Racine took office on January 2, 2015, as the first elected Attorney General for the District of Columbia. He has had a long and distinguished career, including service as an Assistant Public Defender in the D.C. Public Defender Service, Associate White House Counsel in the Clinton administration, service on the District of Columbia’s Judicial Nomination Commission, and managing partner at the 600-lawyer Venable LLP firm, the first African American managing partner of a top 100 law firm. He is a life-long District resident and a graduate of its local schools.

The Flannery Lecture Series was created by a group of men and women who had served as Assistant United States Attorneys during Judge Flannery’s tenure as United States Attorney (1969-1971) or as Law Clerks during his long tenure as a United States District Judge (1971- 2007). Denominated the Thomas A. Flannery Lecture on the Administration of Justice in the District of Columbia, the Lecture Series commemorates the judge’s many contributions to the administration of justice in the District of Columbia.

Judge Flannery was, in many respects, a unique figure in the life of this city. He was born on May 10, 1918, just a few blocks from the United States Courthouse where he would spend so much of his life, in an area called “Swampoodle.” His father was a carpenter from Delaware. His grandfather had emigrated from Ireland. The judge graduated from Gonzaga College High School and, without going to college, studied law at night. He graduated from Columbus University Law School (now part of Catholic University) in 1940. He then went off to war, serving as a combat intelligence officer in the Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II.

After the war, he entered private practice and then went to work for the Department of Justice. He tried more than 300 cases before juries as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia between 1950 and 1962. He became United States Attorney in 1969 and was appointed a United States District Judge in 1971. In 1970, he personally tried and convicted multiple defendants in the first major drug prosecution in D.C. involving the use of Title III wiretaps under the newly-enacted Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act of 1968. United States v. James, 494 F.2d 1007 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

In manner he was tall, soft spoken, and fair minded. To those who are movie buffs, he evoked Gary Cooper’s portrayal of Will Kane, the sheriff in High Noon.

His tenure on the bench was marked by a number of significant cases. He served on special assignment in 1983 and 1984 as a judge in the trial of nine Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members charged with civil rights violations after a 1979 anti-Klan rally in Greensboro, N.C., had turned violent. He adjudicated the Exxon oil overcharge case in the 1980s, in which the government prevailed, and ordered that Exxon repay $1.5 billion in overcharges. He oversaw many significant criminal cases.

He and his wife, Rita, had two children, Thomas Jr. and Irene, both of whom are active in the Flannery Lecture Series program. Judge Flannery died on September 20, 2007.

The first annual Flannery Lecture occurred in 2009. The lectures are given in the fall in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the 6th floor of the United States Courthouse. By tradition, they begin at 5:00 p.m. and conclude no later than 6:00 p.m. A reception follows in the Atrium of the Courthouse.

Since its inception, the Flannery Lecture Series has been graced by notable speakers who have addressed a broad range of subjects. In 2009, then Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth, who served as an Assistant United States Attorney under Judge Flannery, spoke about the nomination and confirmation process for federal judges. In 2010, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who knew Judge Flannery when he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, spoke on the changing and arguably less interesting role of federal judges in view of the diminishing number of jury trials. In 2011, Earl J. Silbert, a former and revered United States Attorney here, who also served under United States Attorney Flannery, spoke on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and various sentencing issues. In 2012, former Senator George Mitchell, once himself a United States District Judge in Maine, spoke on the American judicial system, and in 2013, Mary Jo White, now Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission and formerly the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, spoke on the importance of trials to the law and to public accountability. In 2014, former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III spoke on the national security challenges faced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and by the country as a whole.

At these annual lectures, others have spoken on important and timely topics, often discussing matters more directly related to the District of Columbia. These speakers have included United States Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr., Attorney General for the District of Columbia Irvin B. Nathan, and Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia A.J. Kramer.

The Flannery Lecture Series has, in its first six years, added substantially to the robust legal discourse that has characterized the professional life of the bar in this city.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth Thomas A. Flannery, Jr. Ariel Levinson-Waldman Earl J. Silbert
Judge Paul L. Friedman Eric Glitzenstein James L. Lyons Daniel E. Toomey
Roger M. Adelman Stephen W. Grafman Michael J. Madigan Robert P. Watkins
John D. Aldock Harry M. Gruber Thomas A. Mauro Cynthia G. Wright
Stephen L. Braga Richard A. Hibey Warren L. Miller R. Kenly Webster
James A. Brodsky Judge Herbert B. Hoffman Prof. Ann Powers Roger E. Zuckerman
Mary Pat Brown Peter J. Kadzik William Reukauf
Donald T. Bucklin Philip L. Kellogg Addy R. Schmitt
Irene M. Flannery June Kress James E. Sharp

Questions? Contact Judy Elam: or 202.778.1803