D.C. attorney speaks at 33rd Presidential Lecture

Washington attorney Paul M. Smith shared his stance on civil rights in the U.S. Supreme Court for the 33rd Presidential lecture held on Oct. 24. Smith’s presentation
focused on his victory for the Lawrence v. Texas, which argued for same-sex rights to privacy under the 14th Amendment.

The case had resulted in a 6-3 decision in the Supreme Court, showcasing high public support and no hatred thereafter. The lecture concluded with a question and answer portion that many patrons enthusiastically participated in.

U.S. Attorney Paul Smith and Dr. Robert Underwood pose for a photo before ending the 33rd Presidential Lecture. Photo Credit: Rita Taitano

Students, faculty and staff members attended the event, alongside distinguished guests, including the 34th Guam Legislative Speaker Benjamin F.J. Cruz, Chief Justice Katherine Maraman, Associate Justice F. Philip Carbullido, Associate Justice Robert J. Torres, and Senator Mary C. Torres.

Participants of the event posed several questions regarding civil rights in Guam, though Smith mentioned that he was not fully aware of Guam’s issues with the Supreme Court and he gave insight to situations similar to his past hearings.

Roland San Nicolas, RFK librarian, stated, “As a junior faculty [member], I try to attend these lectures to broaden my horizons. I was expecting more about insular cases and how the territories are underrepresented in the Congress and how the Supreme Court could assist with that. He was more geared towards civil rights in regards to the LGBT community, but it was a great learning experience.”

Carmen Terlaje, another participant of the lecture stated, “It was awesome that he answered questions that were outside his expertise, and answered the question about Guam’s
cases being heard in the Supreme Court. A lot of the time stateside visitors don’t really know about Guam’s history or our position, I found that really fascinating that even though he wasn’t an expert in that field he was able to give a perspective.”

Smith was welcomed to the stage with a customary lei, presented by SGA President Annie Fay Camacho. President Robert Underwood introduced Smith by talking about his work. Underwood stated that Smith was a good presenter because of his stance in the gerrymandering case and though there were a few scheduling issues, he was glad that Smith participated in the event.

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