NAWJ Monthly Update March 2017

Written by National Association of Women Judges|March 16, 2017|Monthly Update Archive

This message was sent to you because you are a member of the National Association of Women Judges. To ensure you receive future communications, please have your network administrator add to your approved sender list so that e-mails received from this domain are not sent to your junk mail folder.

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

Monthly Update Banner
March 2017

In This Issue:

National Association of Women Judges
The Honorable Diana Becton
NAWJ President


A 1987 presidential proclamation designated March as Women's History Month, to honor the struggles and achievements of women in American history. This month, on International Women's Day, a bronze statute, "Fearless Girl," fists on her hips, was installed on Wall Street, before a plaque, which reads, "Know the Power of Women in Leadership." President Jimmy Carter stated, "From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America were as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well." As Dr. Gerda Lerner noted, "Women's History is Women's Right - an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long range vision."

Throughout history, women in the judiciary have increased, despite discrimination and undue hardship that attempted to block our progress. When the Nineteenth Amendment ratified the women's vote, it ushered in a new era of women's rights, and during this time women started to become judges. This included Florence Allen, the first women to be elected to a position of general jurisdiction. Judge Allen eventually became the first female state appellate judge, through her election to the Ohio Supreme Court in 1922.

It took another twenty plus years before the first female judge was appointed to serve on a federal district court, when Judge Burnita Shelton Matthews, was appointed in 1949, to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Shelton lived to the age of 93, and her life story remains an inspiration to us all. Her obituary, published in the New York Times informs that after graduation from law school, she applied for a job with the Veterans Administration, but was told that it would never hire a woman in the legal department, so she opened her own law practice.

There were other stumbling blocks, in that the local bar association refused to accept her application for membership. Prior to her appointment, Judge Matthews served as a lawyer for the National Women's Party and was an active participant in the suffrage movement, as well as a supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. She was also active in drafting legislation to secure rights for women, including a law allowing women to serve on juries, laws eliminating preferences for male in inheritance, and laws for equal pay for teachers regardless of sex.

Despite her qualifications, she recalled in an interview that when her nomination was being considered, one of the male judges said publicly that while "Mrs. Matthews would be a good judge," "there was just one thing wrong: she's a woman." Judge Matthews retained a strong sense of her role as a pioneer, and never wavered in her commitment to expanding opportunities for women. She always chose women law clerks in order to show her "confidence in women."

The Supreme Court of the United States of America first met in 1790, however, it took nearly two centuries - 189 years later before a woman, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed in 1981. In its 220 year history only four women justices have served on the Supreme Court: Sandra Day O'Connor; Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993), Sonia Sotomayor (2009), and Elena Kagan (2010). President Barack Obama nominated the most recent two justices. Today we can celebrate that as of 2010, the Supreme Court became one-third female for the first time in its history!

For the past ten years, the National Center for State Courts has tracked the number of female justices serving in the state courts of last resort. The data shows that female-majority benches are a relatively recent trend. In 2007 there were only 4 states with majority-female benches: D.C., New York, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. However by 2012 nine states had female majority benches, and double digits finally appeared in 2016. At the start of 2017, there are 11 female-majority benches in Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Though we have made great progress toward achieving gender equality in the judiciary, work remains to be done, which is why NAWJ programs that encourage and engage young women in preparatory programs continue to be relevant. NAWJ's signature program, the Color of Justice, exposes middle and high school girls to the possibility of a legal career through presentations and interaction with attorneys and judges. Events at law schools, such as Mentor Jet give law students and lawyers an opportunity to speak with judges and obtain advice about legal careers.

The Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project continues to do an excellent job of educating voters about the qualifications critical to elect those who will administer the rule of law fairly and impartially. Also, the Human Trafficking Committee has been on the forefront of issues affecting a vulnerable population, those subjected to human trafficking, which is often referred to as a modern day form of slavery. The NAWJ Human Trafficking Committee continues its tireless affords on several fronts including developing a Best Practice Guide for distribution, and on March 30-31st a conference will take place in Houston, Texas that will include a session on alternatives to criminalization for minor victims of sex trafficking.

The Women in Prison committee continues to have a significant impact by shedding light on the plight of incarcerated women. Under the watchful eye of this committee federal officials have confirmed that the last female prisoners, temporarily housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, under deplorable conditions, have been transferred back to the newly re-opened Danbury facility. NAWJ will visit the new facility in April 2017.

I am reminded every day of the privilege bestowed upon us in our judicial capacities. Along with this privilege comes the great responsibility to build a future that we want our children to inherit. As we take pride in the progress to date, let us keep fighting to fulfill and protect the promise of equality for all in our society. I am proud to identify with NAWJ, the nation's leading voice for women in the judiciary, an organization of women leaders at the forefront of the fight for the "Power of Women in Leadership."

I close with a quote from President Barack Obama, "We must strive to build the future we want our children to inherit - one in which their dreams are not deferred or denied, but where they are uplifted and praised. This month, as we reflect on the marks made by women throughout history, let us uphold the responsibility that falls on all of us -regardless of gender -and fight for equal opportunity for our daughters as well as our sons."

Sincerely yours,

Honorable Diana Becton
President, National Association of Women Judges

National Association of Women Judges
2017 Midyear Meeting and Lady Justice Gala
June 7-8 • The Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles


WEDNESDAY: Lunch; Evening Welcome Reception featuring New Members and First-Time Attendees.
THURSDAY: Breakfast; Education Sessions; Keynote Luncheon featuring speaker Pamela Samuels Young, attorney and author; Cocktail Reception to Honor Law School Deans, and Lady Justice Awards Gala Dinner.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (Retired), Lady Justice Award for Lifetime Achievement
Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, California Court of Appeal (Retired); NAWJ Founding Mother
Justice Vaino Hassan Spencer (posthumously), California Court of Appeal NAWJ Founding Mother
Janet Langhart Cohen, Emmy-Nominated Journalist and Playwright
Jamie Lee Curtis, Actor & Author
Nina Shaw, Esq., Entertainment Attorney

Charles Cheever

Fisher Phillips LLP
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
The Simon Law Group

Hilaire McGriff PC
New York Community Trust

$545 First-Time Member Attendee ($645 starting May 6, 2017)
$695 for NAWJ Members ($745 starting May 6, 2017)
$745 for Non-Member Attendees ($795 starting May 6, 2017)
$350 for Lady Justice Awards Gala Only (limited)

Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.

ROOM RESERVATIONS: Call (310) 274-7777
NAWJ Rate: $299 night, plus state and local taxes, single or double occupancy

Justices Marcy Kahn and Elizabeth A. Garry to Co-Chair
New York State's Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender Issues

In December, 2016, New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks formed a judicial LGBT Commission, making New York state the first state in the country with a commission of this kind for the LGBT community. The Commission will serve as an advocate for LGBT issues and LGBT members of the court community. It will also serve as a liaison between the judiciary and LGBT individuals in the court system and legal profession. It will also collaborate with LGBT advocacy organizations, bar association and community groups.

NAWJ's members Justice Marcy L. Kahn, (Appellate Division, First Department) and Justice Elizabeth A. Garry (Appellate Division, Third Department) were selected to run the commission. Among the full list of Commission members found at the end of the State's press release (here) are NAWJ members Justice E. Jeannette Ogden (Supreme Court, Erie County) and Justice Rosalyn Richter (Appellate Division, First Department).

Oregon Women Lawyers Recognizes NAWJ Past President Hon. Julie Frantz
with the Justice Betty Roberts Award

NAWJ Past President Julie Frantz, judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court, was selected by the Oregon Women Lawyers with its very prestigious Justice Betty Roberts Award. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to promoting women in the legal profession and in the community. The recipient is a person who has influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women attorneys, or advanced opportunities for women within the profession. The presentation took place on March 10, 2017 at the Portland Art Museum where the 25th annual Roberts & Deiz Awards Dinner was held.

Longterm NAWJ Member and NLRB Judge Nancy Sherman Passed Away

Legendary National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Judge Nancy M. Sherman passed away on February 13, 2017 at the age of 91. Judge Sherman was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, retired ICC judge Jerome G. Sherman. She retired in 2002 after serving 44 years as an NLRB Administrative Law Judge. She worked in the Appellate Division of NLRB, having become a Judge with the agency at a time when very few women had attained that post. She was also a longtime member of the Federal Administrative Law Judge Conference, joining from its inception and continued to attend FALJC lunches and seminars until a few years ago. An obituary notice notes her graduating from the College of the University of Chicago in 1945, and from its Law School in 1948.

Jones Day and the Greater Houston Community Foundation Hosts
Human Trafficking Roundtable in Houston, TX
March 30-31, 2017

The 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report from the U.S. State Department estimates that human trafficking is a $150 billion global illicit industry. The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that there are 45.8 million people living in modern slavery today. Known to exist in 167 countries, human trafficking and forced labor are issues that cross all borders. Jones Day, in partnership with the Greater Houston Community Foundation, is hosting this working roundtable to foster innovative, cutting-edge, and candid discussions among key stakeholders on how they can work together to end human trafficking. Participants will discuss what is working and what is not in the fight against human trafficking; identify gaps in traditional approaches; and develop ideas for new collaborations, partnerships, and action plans. Invited participants include corporate counsel, compliance officers, social responsibility executives, healthcare providers and educators, government officials, judges, NGO personnel, and impact investors.

To view the day by day schedule click here. If you have any questions, please contact Micah Doak at or call (832) 239-3896.

New England Cruise 2017
MAY 20, 2017 - MAY 27, 2017
Holland America Line's ms Maasdam

Bar Harbor, Maine • Halifax, Nova Scotia • Sydney, Nova Scotia • Prince Edward Island • Québec City, Québec

Campus Sexual Assaults Panel
Documentary film-maker Liz Canner will share her story requesting public documents about an acquitted rape defendant which led to the landmark 1st Amendment decision by the New Hampshire Supreme Court August, 2016. Attorney Robert Bertsche, who represented Ms. Canner, will describe the issues surrounding the case and the argument strategy. Ms. Canner's request under the New Hampshire Right to Know Law was in connection with her research for her documentary film about campus assaults.



Speakers: Film-maker Liz Canner
Robert Bertsche, Esq., Prince Lobel LLP
Date/Time: Saturday, May 20, 2017, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location: Law Offices of Prince Lobel Tye, LLP
One International Place, Suite 3700
Boston, MA 02100
Cost: Free for cruise attendees. ($20 for non-cruise attendees)


Education Session on Judicial Ethics This session will focus on current in ethics, with a particular focus on retired judges.
Speaker: Hon. Marjorie Laird Carter
California Superior Court, Orange County (Retired)
Special Private Cocktail Receptions (2)


Brunch with Canadian IAWJ Members
Location: Jardine Nelson
Hotel Nelson, 417-425 Place Jacques-Cartier (Old Montreal)
Montreal, Quebec
(TBD: A speaker has been invited to address the handling of campus assaults at McGill University,)


The registration for is $150 per person. Register online here, or download complete and fax, mail, or email this registration form to:
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036
FAX: 202-393-0215


To book a cabin contact cruise coordinator Nancy Curtis by email at, or by phone (619) 917-5507.

Fares start at $759 per person for interior staterooms (assuming double occupancy). Taxes, fees and port expenses are an additional $210 and subject to change.

Access to Justice: Past, Present and Future
NAWJ 39th Annual Conference
October 11-15, 2017
Sheraton Atlanta Hotel

The 39th NAWJ Conference in Atlanta, Georgia will feature vibrant and interactive programs. Our theme, Access to Justice: Past, Present, and Future, will allow attendees to explore historical lessons about justice from the Civil Rights movement; discuss present justice changes such as criminal justice reform, and envision justice initiatives for years to come.

$525 for members who are First-Time Attendees until June 30, 2017
$595 for NAWJ Members until June 30, 2017
$695 for Non-Member Attendees until June 30, 2017

Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.

The conference host hotel is the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Call (866) 716-8134 • NAWJ Rate: $199/night, plus applicable taxes, single or double occupancy.

For more information, contact: Anne Mercer,

Welcome Reception
A Discussion Panel on Labor Trafficking
Criminal Justice Reform
A View from Georgia: 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judges and Article III Judges
Reception at the Elbert P. Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building
Judicial Ethics and Implicit Bias
Today in LBGTQ Issues
Emerging Issues in Elder Law
Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement for Today's Judges
Bar Associations Reception
Law School Incubator Project
Trauma Informed Courts
Friends Appreciation Luncheon
Annual NAWJ Banquet

Explore optional social activities such as a Dine Around, a civil rights tour, excursions to the Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and a visit to a local jail or prison.


Bondurant Mixon & Elmore

Landmark Sponsor GEICO

Part of NAWJ and GEICO's partnership provides insurance discounts to NAWJ members. Contact GEICO for a free quote on auto insurance to see how much you could be saving. And, don't forget to mention your NAWJ affiliation; you could qualify for an exclusive member savings opportunity. Visit (special portal here) or call 1-800-368-2734 for your free rate quote. GEICO can also help you find great rates on homeowners, renters, motorcycle insurance, and more.

Calendar of Events
On March 22, California Judges Charlene Kiesselbach and Suzanne Bolanos will host their Color of Justice program on Wednesday in the State Building across the street from the Civic Center Courthouse in San Francisco. Approximately 75-80 students will attend from San Francisco Unified School District's Balboa High School and June Jordan High School.

On March 22, NAWJ members in Washington State joined forces with the local chapter of Washington Women Lawyers to host an event in honor of Women's History Month. Governor Christine Gregoire is the guest speaker.

On March 30, the Atlanta Conference Planning Committee will hold a Kick-Off Reception for this year's NAWJ Annual Conference.

Judge Patricia Garcia will chair a Color of Justice program on April 14, 2017 in the South Bay Court in San Diego County.

On April 12, 2017, NAWJ member Judge Rebecca Pennell of the Washington Court of Appeals will host an event at Heritage University, including a panel of state and federal judges and attorneys who will inspire women students to act on their leadership aspirations through civic engagement and careers in the law and judiciary.

Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden will lead the Delaware Chapter of NAWJ as co-sponsors of the 5th Annual Sisters in Success Program at Baylor Womens' Correctional Institution in Wilmington, DE on May 15, 2017. This program is modeled after the Success In & Out Program put on at Riverside Correctional Facility sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter of NAWJ back in 2011. After Judge Jurden saw those judges present on the program at one of our NAWJ meetings, she took the concept to the Warden at Baylor, Wendi Caple, known for her care ensuring the women are prepared for their reentry. The Women and the Law Section of the Delaware Bar joined in support and the partners launched Sisters in Success. Click here to review last year's program.

Join NAWJ on Holland America's ms Maasdam that will sail from Boston to Montreal, May 20-27, 2017.

NAWJ Midyear Meeting and Lady Justice Awards Gala will take place in Los Angeles, California from June 7-8, 2017 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.

NAWJ 39th Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 11-15, 2017 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

NAWJ 40th Annual Conference will take place in San Antonio, Texas from October 3-7, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk.

Connect With Us

Facebook Twitter