The following introduction to Elder Oaks was given by Kirk Jowers at Utah’s Constitution Day Celebration in the Tabernacle on Temple Square:
The Hinckley Institute of Politics has presented more than 2,000 speakers in the past 45 years. These leaders have ranged from future and past United States presidents and foreign heads of states; current governors, senators, and ambassadors; and thought leaders from every imaginable discipline. It has been a privilege for me to participate in hundreds of these events and learn from these accomplished individuals. I am particularly honored, however, to introduce our guest tonight.
For more than a half century, Elder Oaks has been a participant in or a knowledgeable observer of the operation of constitutions. Just after his graduation from law school, he worked behind the closed doors of the United States Supreme Court as a law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren. Later, he taught law at three major law schools: the Universities of Chicago, Michigan, and Brigham Young.
Elder Oaks practiced law and worked as a prosecutor and a defense attorney in the criminal courts of Chicago. He argued criminal cases in the appellate courts of Illinois. He published many articles and several books involving the interpretation of constitutions. He was the legal counsel to the Bill of Rights Committee of the Illinois Constitutional Convention, which drafted the only state constitution successfully written and adopted in the last 100 years.
Here in Utah, of course, he served as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court for three and a half years. Thus, he has had many years of hands-on experience in interpreting the United States Constitution and the constitutions of two different states — Illinois and Utah.
The Hinckley Institute invited Elder Oaks this evening based on this incredible experience, and Elder Oaks has asked me to add that his remarks draw on that background, rather than the authority of his current calling. It is my pleasure to present to you, Elder Dallin H. Oaks.