The Delaware campus provided the backdrop recently for a day focused on justice issues that attracted a number of high-profile speakers.
The “Justice Symposium” featured an opening keynote address by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and closed with a speech from luncheon headliner Beau Biden, Delaware attorney general. The event was presented May 14 by the Delaware State Bar Association in partnership with the Delaware Barristers Association and the South Asian Bar Association of Delaware. It was held in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom with the luncheon in the Barristers’ Club.
“I’ve spent some time here at the law school,” Biden said. “I feel like I’m home here.”
Both he and Markell talked about efforts to keep the public safe, largely through gun control legislation that had passed or was pending, or through work groups dedicated to finding solutions on public safety issues. Markell’s speech came on the heels of a visit to Delaware by parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The families worked with him to help get a gun background check bill through the Delaware General Assembly, which he signed immediately after it passed.
“If you meet these parents, they could be anybody. These could be anybody’s kids,” Markell said. “If we can take a step that will reduce the chance that somebody else’s 6-year-old child is slaughtered, we need to take it.”
Biden spent considerable time talking about a work group that is looking at ways to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally ill and a danger to the community – largely because the topic generated a thoughtful exchange with those in attendance. He explained an idea under consideration that would involve health care professionals reporting to law enforcement their concerns about patients who indicate that they could be a danger to themselves or others. Law enforcement would review those matters and possibly approach the Attorney General’s Office to ask a court to place those individuals on a weapons-prohibited list.
“This will help make us all safer and be responsive to the tragedy we are all still trying to digest,” Biden said.
In addition to gun control, the symposium also included a panel discussion on human trafficking and forced labor.