NAWJ Monthly Update July 2019

Written by National Association of Women Judges|July 23, 2019|Monthly Update Archive

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July 2019

In This Issue:


Dear Members,

A lot has happened since NAWJ's April Leadership Summit in San Diego where NAWJ's Board of Directors gathered with former NAWJ presidents to discuss NAWJ's strategic plan and the sustainability of NAWJ moving forward. The following are the highlights.

NAWJ Executive Director, Connie Pillich, voluntarily resigned from her position effective July 4, 2019. Connie came to us at a challenging time. She focused attention on upgrading and modernizing our office systems. She will be missed. We thank her for her service and wish her much success in her next endeavor. The announcement for a new Executive Director can be found on our website. If you know of any qualified applicants, please have them submit a vision statement and their resume by July 31st.


Building on the theme of "Global Judicial Leadership," and at the invitation of His Holiness Pope Francis, a delegation of ten NAWJ members participated and presented at the Second Pan-American Summit on "Social Rights" at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences at the Vatican on June 3-4, 2019. The Summit focused on the responsibilities and work of judges from Pan-American countries. We shared ideas with more than 60 judges on the important topic of "equal access to justice for all" in our justice systems; we discussed judicial independence, judicial ethics and discipline, implicit bias, human trafficking and collaborative courts, amongst other topics. Pope Francis rendered the concluding remarks by speaking about fair and accessible courts. He addressed the judges at the Summit in part as follows: "Dear magistrates, you have an essential role to play." He stated that judges are not afraid to play a leading role in the "transformation of the judicial system" that must be based on "courage, justice and the primacy of the dignity of the human person over any other interest or justification."

At the closing Pope Francis announced creation of the "Vatican Commission" to address Access to Equal Justice for All. He appointed six judges from the Americas to the Vatican Commission for a period of two years. The six judges appointed are from: Argentina, Peru, Chile, Columbia, Brazil, and the USA. I am honored to have been selected to represent the USA on the "Vatican Commission on Access and Fairness" for the next two years. For me, this is the greatest honor! Together, we hope to identify the best strategies for ensuring access to justice throughout the Americas, particularly for the most vulnerable and forgotten members of our societies.

As soon as I returned from Rome, I headed to New York City for the two-day "Global Judicial Leadership Conference on the "human rights for all women" which took place June 10-11, 2019. The Conference was held at the UN Building (June 10th) and Columbia University Law School (June 11th). The conference was a huge success. The collaboration with the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development, led by its President and Founder, Mrs. Sally Kader, and the United Nations, allowed NAWJ members to have an amazing insider perspective to the inner workings of the UN. The conference started with a tour of the UN led by expert guides, a lunch at an exotic Indian restaurant, and an afternoon jammed with honest and frank discussion about sexual harassment and assault within the UN agencies and its peacekeeping forces and the new guidelines and commissions created by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to address these important issues with the hope of eradicating sexual harassment and assault within UN and its peacekeeping forces.

The second day of the conference was held at Columbia Law School in Collaboration with the School of International Public Policy and Columbia Law School. Judges Lisa Walsh (Former NAWJ President) and Myriam Lehr (Co-Chair of NAWJ 2012Annual Conference in Miami) were the Co-Chairs of the Global Judicial Leadership Conference at the Columbia Law School. We had an amazing group of speakers on cutting-edge educational programs dealing with human rights of all women, from human trafficking, international surrogacy laws, to immigration and refugee women and the US Immigration policy, to nationality rights, sexual assault and violence against women, to the abuse of elderly in our societies. We also had eight of our international sisters from IAWJ joining us in New York City from Haiti, Norway, Canada, Philippines, and Mexico. It was truly an inspiring and eye-opening conference encouraging us all to become judicial global leaders since women's rights are also human rights.

I hope you will join us on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on July 16, 2019 when we meet with the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues speak to the Women's Caucus and other legislatures on the important topic of "The Opioids Crisis and its Impact on Women and Children: The Dilemma for Judges." Speakers include:

The Honorable Brenda Lawrence (MI)
Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues
The Honorable Ann McLane Kuster (NH)
Founder and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force
The Honorable Susan Brooks (IN)
Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush, Indiana Supreme Court

Professor Hendrée Jones, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina
Professor Debra A. Pinals, MD, Medical Director, Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Gary Tennis, President, National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws
Nancy M. Ware, Former Director, Court Services Offender Supervision Agency For the District of Columbia.

Our membership drive is still going strong. We have brought in 200 new members since January 2019. Please continue your efforts to bring another 200 new members by October 2019. There is strength in numbers! We need you!

If you have not yet viewed the spring issue of Counterbalance, please view it here.

And, also please do not miss the early bird registration deadline of August 1, and register to attend our amazing annual conference in Los Angeles, October 15-19, 2019.

Tamila E. Ipema
Hon. Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema
Judge of California Superior Court, San Diego County

NAWJ Awards Committee Seeks Nominations
for Annual Hon. Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year Award
and Florence K. Murray Award

NAWJ Executive Committee and President to Consider Candidates for
Mattie Belle Davis Award and Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award

The NAWJ Awards Committee requests nominations for this year's Honorable Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year Award and Florence K. Murray Award. Nominations will be accepted until the deadline of July 15, 2019. To assist you in nominating candidates for these two awards, click here for nomination guidelines for the KLEIN Award, and here for the MURRAY Award.

In addition, the Executive Committee and President will respectively select 2019 honorees for the Mattie Belle Davis Award and the Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award. Click here to review guidelines for the Mattie Belle Davis and Justice Vaino Spencer Awards.

Awards will be given out during the 41st Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California.

Please submit completed nominations no later than JULY 15, 2019 by mail, or via email to Awards Committee Co-Chairs Hon. Cindy Davis and Hon. Ariane Vuono, and NAWJ staff member Lavinia Cousin: Cindy.Davis@SDCourt.CA.Gov;; and

National Association of Women Judges
Attn: Hon. Ariana Vuono and Hon. Cindy Davis
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036

Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigby
Hon. Judith Chirlin
Hon. Cindy Davis, Co-Chair
Hon. Dana Fabe
Hon. Julie Franz
Hon. Holly Fujie
Hon. Debra James
Hon. Elizabeth Lee
Hon. Brenda Loftin
Hon. Jamoa Moberly
Hon. Vanessa Ruiz
Hon. Ariane Vuono, Co-Chair
Hon. Lisa Walsh


The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is developing a technical tool for criminal justice officials on gender-responsive non-custodial measures, based on the Bangkok Rules. A small expert group meeting has been scheduled to take place on 2-4 September 2019 in Bangkok to review a first draft of this tool. Click here to read concept note for additional information regarding this experts meeting. UNODC is currently compiling a list of experts, including judges, prosecutors and academics to attend this meeting.

If you are interested in being considered for this experts meeting, please send a brief email highlighting your specific experience working on gender responsive non-custodial measures to with a copy to me at by no later than July 12, 2019.

Take advantage of early bird registration today!
Don't miss out!

(Developing, as of June 25)

Linda Greenhouse, Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School
Erwin Chemerinsky – Dean, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Elder Issues
Sexual Harassment and Me Too
Orange is the New Black – LGBTQ Issues
Restorative Justice
Challenging Times for the Independence of the Judiciary – Administrative Judiciary
The Innocence Project
The Play, Sisters in Law
Independent Voters Project
Sex Trafficking
Science for Judges: Unique Concerns in DNA Testing
Judicial Security
Military Sexual Trauma . . . Women Assaulted in the Military – Recourse
Western Justice Center – A Play

Registration fees include keynotes, education sessions, receptions, meals, transportation to events listed in the program and use of the hospitality suite.


(through 8/1/2019)  


(after 9/16/2019)

NAWJ Member








Registrants may cancel until September 15, 2019. All cancellations are subject to a $50 processing fee. Requests for cancellation on or after September 16, 2019 will not receive a refund. All third-party payments are subject to the same policy.

Click here to register online. Or, download and complete this registration form and email to Mail completed form to:

National Association of Women Judges
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036

Follow this link to reserve your room at The Omni Hotel Los Angeles California Plaza. Rooms are guaranteed at the rate of $249 per night, plus state and local taxes and fees, single or double occupancy. Conference attendees may also call 1.800.THE.OMNI (843-6664) and reference the National Association of Women Judges room block.

The negotiated rate is available through Monday, September 23, 2019, or until all rooms are booked within the block, whichever comes first.


On June 10-11, NAWJ collaborated with friends to form new partnerships that will address issues of joint concern. Fifty attendees joined 40 speakers in New York City for an intimate witnessing of testimonials, accounts of the challenges of jurisdiction, achievements in policy formation, and the ugly persistence of gender bias, imbalance of power, and the particular vulnerabilities that fall on women and their children.

The conference's Day One events took place in ‘Turtle Bay.' Hosted and organized by the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development and its President, Mrs. Sally Kader, attendees toured the United Nations, feasted on authentic Indian cuisine, and settled down to an afternoon of poignant remarks on sexual harassment and violence against women by Her Excellency Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations; Lieutenant Commander Marcia Braga, a member of Brazil's Navy and Military Gender Advisor at the UN Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic; Lynne Goldberg, Senior Political Affairs Officer in the UN's Office of the Special Coordinator on improving the response to sexual exploitation and abuse; and Jane Connors, Victims' Rights Advocate for the United Nations.

NAWJ President Judge Tamila E. Ipema presented Mrs. Kader with the Lady Justice Award for her decades long contributions to global peace. Mrs. Kader strives to increase awareness of global human trafficking, and is known for her work hosting events, panel discussions, peace conferences, vigils, prayer services and peace marches including International Peace Conferences at the Arab League Headquarters in Egypt, and annual UN International Day of Peace celebrations throughout the world. Mrs. Kader is a long-time activist for women's rights and has devoted efforts to empower women and elevate the status of women in society, including hosting interfaith discussions amongst women of various religions, promoting women's role in the media, and encouraging women to participate in society, politics and decision-making. Her work includes helping refugee Palestinian women and hosting international conferences, including one on the Role of Immigrant Women towards International Peace in Stockholm, Sweden. The day's end was highlighted by the poignant, humorous, and deft expressions of our humanity by a chamber ensemble of young talents speaking in the universal language of music.


Conference Day Two Programs Chairs Judge Myriam Lehr (NAWJ Florida State Chair) and Judge Lisa Walsh (NAWJ Past President, 2015-16) gained the partnership of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia Law School, with support of the Law School's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, as hosts for panels and forums focusing on the plight of women internationally, and within our 50 states. After the chairs' opening remarks, and a welcome message from SIPA Dean Merit Janow, discussions turned to US policies affecting immigrant women, surrogacy and human trafficking, gender discrimination in nationality laws, lessons learned from combating sexual assault on college campuses, and sharing strategies and resources to support maturing and aging demographics.


NAWJ's Global Judicial Leadership Conference is the brainchild of NAWJ President Judge Tamila E. Ipema for whom navigating and strengthening international frameworks that improve human rights of all women is a passion. NAWJ is hopeful that relationships created in this year's partnerships of the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia School of Law and its Center for Gender and Sexuality Law will continue.


NAWJ District Four is proud to announce NAWJ Past President (2012-2013), The Honorable Joan V. Churchill, as its 2019 Edna G. Parker Award recipient. Every other year, NAWJ District Four honors a district member who has made outstanding achievements and accomplishments that reflect the ideals embodied in the spirit and legacy of Edna G. Parker, including demonstrated leadership; devoted service; and commitment to improving or demonstrating other significant leadership in furthering the cause of justice in the District Four states of District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

The award ceremony will be part of a September 27-28, 2019 conference retreat at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Virginia. Plans will include:
1) an evening reception for conference attendees late on Friday, September 27, 2019;
2) Saturday morning education session;
3) a Luncheon on Saturday, featuring the Edna Parker Award Ceremony; and
4) a tour of a local winery.

Contact Lavinia Cousin at for more information.


Judge Joan V. Churchill (Retired) served as President of NAWJ for its 2012-2013 year. She also held NAWJ board positions President-Elect, Vice-President of Districts, Secretary, Projects Director, and District Four Director. She is currently chair of NAWJ's Senior and Retired Judges Committee.

Judge Churchill served as an Immigration Judge for the United States Immigration Court for Washington DC/Arlington VA for more than 24 years. She retired in 2005. During her tenure, she served five terms as a Temporary Member of the Board of Immigration Appeals. The Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals are administrative tribunals within the United States Department of Justice. She has presided throughout the US, including 2 territories (the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands), and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Churchill's career included private practice, government service, and academia. She graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, after completing her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, during which she spent her junior year in France.


Edna Parker was a dedicated jurist, devoted mother, and a fearless champion for justice. She served on the U.S. Tax Court. This annual award honors her memory and inestimable value to the Washington area community and the National Association of Women Judges.


The American Bar Association (ABA)'s Judicial Division and Standing Committee will honor NAWJ member and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge, the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown, with the John Marshall Award. The award will be presented at the Judicial Division Awards Luncheon Friday, August 9, 2019 during the ABA's Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The ABA shares: "When the #METOO issue hit the judiciary, McKeown was appointed to lead the Ninth Circuit Task Force on the Workplace. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts later named her to the national Workplace Environment Working Group. "Under her leadership," Llewelyn G. Pritchard of the Seattle-area firm of Helsell Fetterman wrote, "the Ninth Circuit is now recognized as a pioneer on a number of key changes in the judicial workplace." She is nationally recognized for her work on gender issues, judicial ethics and international rule of law. She was instrumental in creating a program to inform the public about court rulings, and the use of electronic media alerts on the federal courts. Judge McKeown chairs the board of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and previously chaired the Latin America Council.

Read more about Judge McKeown's achievements, and how to attend the Judicial Division Awards Luncheon here.


The National Institute of Trial Advocacy's (NITA) Building Trial Skills Program recently honored the Hon. Sylvia Bacon with its Justin Simon Award: "We now honor a woman who devoted many years to the Program as a Team Leader and who, at long last, is being justly recognized for her enormous contributions to the continued success of this Program."

In 1953, after graduating from Vassar, Sylvia Bacon entered Harvard Law School as one of only five women in her class, graduating in 1956. (She would earn an LLM from Georgetown Law Center in 1959.) Later that year, she joined U.S. District Court Judge Burnita Shelton Matthews chambers as a law clerk. Judge Matthews, appointed by President Harry S. Truman in 1949, was the first woman to serve on any U.S. District Court. In 1969, she served as Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, DC's Civil Division, becoming, along with the late Ellen Lee Park, as one of only two women in the entire office.

In 1970, Judge Bacon was one of the inaugural judges appointed to the newly created Superior Court of the District of Columbia. She retired from the Superior Court and join the NITA Program as a Team Leader in 1991.

Read more on Judge Bacon's tremendous personal qualities that formed the basis of her legacy in Daniel Toomey's, co-founder of the Building Trial Skills Program, award presentation remarks.


NAWJ member Hon. Erin Masson Wirth was recently elevated to Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Federal Maritime Commission. An active member in District Four events since 2013, Judge Wirth joined the Commission as Administrative Law Judge in 2010, after serving as Administrative Law Judge at the Social Security Administration. She is an alumna of the William & Mary Law School and Smith College.


Retired Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann of the Orange Superior Court was elected President of the California Judges Association (CJA) by the group's Executive Board. She will serve a one-year term beginning October 13, 2019. Judge Schumann was appointed to the Orange County Superior Court in 1979. She has served on Family, Civil, and Criminal assignments, and is currently sitting on assignment. She graduated from Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley. After graduating, she was in private practice with Nossaman, Kruegar, Marsh & Riordan then with the Orange County County Counsel's Office. Judge Nomoto Schumann was on the Judicial Council, Chair of the CJA Ethics Committee, and Past President of the American Judges Association. She is currently the Secretary-Treasurer for the California Judges Association.


The National Judicial College and the Justice Speakers Institute, LLC are pleased to announce the release of a new online publication, Science Bench Book for Judges. Judges do not need to become scientists in order to make appropriate evidentiary decisions about scientific evidence. Rather, they need to have a detailed understanding of their role in admitting scientific evidence. Click here to download the entire bench book.

SEPTEMBER 17-18, 2019

The International Association for Court Administration (IACA) will hold this year's conference in Central Asia, in the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) from September 17-18, 2019. The first day of the conference will focus on enhancing access to justice, improving public trust and confidence, and achieving efficiency through innovation. Attendees will also have access to the International Justice Forum on September 18, being held in conjunction with the International Association of Judges, and a gala dinner that evening hosted by the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan. Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from judges and court administrators from around the world, and to meet your colleagues and peers in the heart of Eurasia. Register here.

The IACA's mission is: to promote professional court administration and management in emerging democracies and other countries pursuing the rule of law; to sponsor international conferences, forums, and education and training programs on court administration and management; and to serve as a resource for judges, court administrators and managers, and other government officials in search of ways in which to evaluate and improve court and justice systems.

July 16, 2019. NAWJ's annual meeting on Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.) with the Congressional Women's Caucus. 12:00-2:00 pm in the Rayburn House Office Building. Open to all members. RSVP to

August 2, 2019. NAWJ San Diego will conduct a re-entry program for women in prison, Success Inside and Out, at the Las Colinas Women's Detention Facility in San Diego. Chairs include San Diego Commissioner Terrie Roberts and San Diego Superior Court Research Attorney Nadia Keilani.

September 27-28, 2019. NAWJ District Four will hold its Edna Parker Award Ceremony on at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Virginia. Contact Lavinia Cousin at for more information.

October 15-19, 2019. NAWJ 41st Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California at the Omni at California Plaza. Contact Conference Chair Judge Elizabeth White at

October 26, 2019. NAWJ New Jersey will hold another Color of Justice program at Rutgers Law School in Newark. Program Chairs include Judge Siobhan Teare and Judge Sue Pai Yang.

May 7-10, 2020. IAWJ's 15th Biennial Conference: "Celebrating Diversity" hosted by the New Zealand Association of Women Judges in Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand.

October 12-16, 2020. NAWJ 42nd Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

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