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Former Labor Secretary to address economic issues

March 13, 2009

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich will deliver this year’s John P. Frank Memorial Lecture titled “Will our Children Live as Well?” at 7 p.m. March 19 in the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre on ASU’s Tempe campus. The event is presented by Arizona State University’s School of Justice and Social Inquiry.

“In these times of economic uncertainty, we are delighted to offer this opportunity to hear the thoughts of a great economist who brings so much experience in dealing with economic problems at a national and global level,” says Marjorie Zatz, director of the school.

Reich, who is a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, “is known for his ability to think through complex issues and identify innovative solutions that make sense for our time,” according to Zatz. Reich has served three U.S. administrations and was secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Recently, he has been an economic advisor to President Barack Obama.

As labor secretary, Reich oversaw the implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, led a national fight against sweatshops in the United States, secured workers’ pensions, led a successful effort to raise the minimum wage, and launched job-training programs and training centers. Under his leadership, the Labor Department earned more than 30 awards for innovation.

The endowed lecture series, with support from the Lewis and Roca law firm, honors the memory of John P. Frank, a Maricopa County attorney who died in 2002. Frank began his career at Lewis and Roca in 1954.

“It is fitting that Robert Reich delivers the 10th John P. Frank Memorial Lecture, as his actions and counsel follow in the tradition of Frank; always attentive to the social justice implications of policies and practices,” says Zatz. “Economic justice and social innovation will be one of several strategic initiatives pursued by the faculty in our new, transdisciplinary school.” The School of Justice and Social Inquiry is transitioning along with other academic units into the new School of Social Transformation in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

“Reich’s work is central to debates in this area, and we are excited by this opportunity to learn from Reich and discuss our ideas with him,” Zatz says.

Reich received the prestigious Vaclav Havel Vision Foundation Prize, from the former president of the Czech Republic, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought in 2003.

In 2008, Time named Reich one of the 10 most effective cabinet officials of the century. His commentary is heard weekly on American Public Media’s “Marketplace.” He is a frequent op-ed contributor of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

Reich is the co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. He received a juris doctorate from Yale University; a master’s degree from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.

His recent book, “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life,” won the Bruno Kreisky Prize for the Political Book in 2008.

“Bob is a rare individual who makes complicated theory accessible to everyone. His books and writings help us understand the work lives of Americans, how our lives are affected by economic change, and the initiatives and policies that can better our working conditions,” says Zatz.

Three of Reich’s books will be on sale in the lobby of the theater before and after the lecture. The books include “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life,” “Reason: Why Liberals will win the Battle for America,” and “The Future of Success: Working and Living in the New Economy.”

On the 10th anniversary of this lecture series, Zatz and colleagues at ASU and in the legal community are seeking to broaden the scope of the annual lecture, transforming it into the John P. Frank Memorial Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Social Justice, Law and Policy.

Frank was an advocate for social justice and is best known for representing Ernesto Miranda before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. The court ruling established that criminal suspects must be informed of their rights against self-incrimination and their right to consult with an attorney preceding questioning by police, which became known as the Miranda warning.

“John Frank was a leader in the Arizona legal community and across the nation,” says Zatz. “He was influential in shaping public policy through his work and legal counsel. We are honored to provide this occasion each year to reflect on his life and legacy. The new visiting professorship will allow us to expand opportunities for our distinguished visitor to engage further with faculty members, students and the local community.”

Frank was a legal scholar and historian, who authored 11 books, successfully argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and mentored junior colleagues who are now leaders in the local and national legal arena. In addition to the Miranda case, Frank was also well known for his involvement in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka and for providing legal counsel to Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1992. His opinion was highly sought and regarded by presidents and Supreme Court justices alike.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. More information at 480-965-7682. The Evelyn Smith Music Theatre is located in the School of Music building. Online maps of the Tempe campus and parking facilities are at: