MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
It was my honor and privilege to be sworn in as NAWJ's new President on October 12, 2013 at our annual
conference in New Orleans, LA! I wish to thank our out-going President, Joan Churchill, for her leadership
and for the phenomenal programs and work of NAWJ during her tenure. It has been a pleasure to serve with her.
I am excited and I look forward to the coming year. The theme I have chosen for my term as President is "NAWJ:
Ensuring Access to Justice for All". Through cutting-edge judicial education, community outreach, leadership
development and mentoring programs, I will work to continue NAWJ's mission of promoting the rule of law through
innovative and inspired programming that will promote diverse judicial leadership, fairness and equality in the
courts and equal access to justice. I will continue NAWJ's vital role of mentoring and encouraging a new
generation of women to pursue careers in the law and in the judiciary. Additionally, I will work to expand
NAWJ's partnerships and collaborative endeavors so that NAWJ's work can impact a wider audience.
NAWJ has been a vital part of my professional and personal development during my 17 years as judge, first as a
magistrate judge, then as a Superior Court trial judge and now on the highest court of the District of
Columbia - the Court of Appeals. My mother, Justice Laura D. Blackburne (retired) and I first joined NAWJ together
in 1995 as the only mother /daughter judges in the country! I also wish to thank my husband Judge Robert
Rigsby for his service as both a civilian judge on our District of Columbia Superior Court and as a Military
Judge in the United States Army Reserves. Public service is a core value that has been instilled in me by my
parents and one that my husband and I share and strive to pass on to our son. Since 1995, I have had the opportunity
to grow personally and professionally through my work with NAWJ as a District 4 officer, on various NAWJ committees
and through my service for the last five years on NAWJ's National Board of Directors. Above all else, I have valued
the opportunity to meet and work with phenomenal women judges from across the country and around the world and to work
with lawyers around the country on NAWJ's important program initiatives.
We have important and exciting work to do this year and I need your help. NAWJ has many committees and
programs that offer unique ways to get involved around issues of importance to you. Pick one thing that
interests you and feel free to share your ideas for new programs to address emerging needs! Please join
me and get engaged in this wonderful organization! I look forward to serving as your new NAWJ President
and working with you to "Ensure Access to Justice for All"!
Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
Click here to read bio.
Danbury Prison To Remain
NAWJ Community Joins with Partners, Legislators
Services for Women in Prison to Increase
In 2012, ever present to the conditions of women in prison, NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee
learned of the federal Bureau of Prison's (BOP) request for operating funds to create a new large
women's prison in Aliceville, Alabama. The proposed isolated location meant that family visits
would be very difficult for inmates outside of the region. Initial inquiries from the Women in
Prison (WIP) concluded there was nothing it could do to change the BOP's plans.
Much to WIP's surprise and horror, in July 2013 the BOP announced it was going to close the only
women's prison in the northeast, Danbury, Connecticut, and send most of the women to the new prison
in Aliceville. Danbury has a residential drug program, a gynecologist on staff, and volunteer groups
in a metropolitan area that provide services. Aliceville, despite the best efforts of its chamber
of commerce, had very little.
The Committee contacted additional individuals and groups who might share its view that closing
Danbury would be detrimental to the women inmates and their families, particularly children, who
lived in the Northeast. The WIP put together a grass roots effort to keep Danbury open including
Professor Judith Resnik and others at the Liman Center at Yale; Citizens United for Rehabilitation
of Errants (CURE); Lynn Hecht Schafran, Legal Momentum; Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice; Judy Lichtman,
National Partnership for Women & Families; Marcia Greenberger; and Piper Kerman, Board Member of
the Women's Prison Association in New York.
On August 22, 2013, NAWJ President-elect Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Judges Patricia Wald, Gladys
Kessler, and Brenda Murray, Professor Brenda V. Smith, and Charlie Sullivan (CURE) met with Charles
Samuels, BOP Director. On August 26, 2013, the same group met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole.
Professor Resnik and Lynn Schafran worked with Congressional staffers, Senators Richard Blumenthal
(CT), Robert P. Casey, Jr., (PA), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY), Angus S. King (Maine), Patrick Leahy
(VT), Edward J. Markey (MA), Christopher Murphy (CT), Bernard Sanders (VT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH),
Charles E. Schumer (NY), and Elizabeth Warren (MA), to write to BOP Director Samuels expressing concern.
The judiciary was amazing. U.S. District Court Chief Judges Carol B. Amon, Deborah Chasanow,
Christopher C. Conner, Janet Hall, Joseph Laplante, Mary L. Lisi, Michael A. Posnor, Loretta A.
Preska, Patti B. Saris, Jerome B. Simandle, William B. Skretny, Gregory Sleet, Mark L. Wolfe, John
Woodcock, and Judge Rya W. Zobel, also wrote to Director Samuels.
On November 6, 2013, the BOP Director called the WIP and informed us that there would continue to be
a 200-bed secured facility at Danbury with all existing services and program; a new 50-bed facility
in Brooklyn, New York; and a committee of wardens to advise on best practices for treating women.
NAWJ's status made this possible. Thank you to Joan Dempsey Klein and Vaino Spencer.
NAWJ Continues Plans for Hosting the IAWJ 2016 Biennial Conference
Washington, D.C. • May 26-29, 2016
Criteria for Selection of 2016 Biennial Co-chairs Announced
Volunteers for Committees Sought
Criteria for Selection of 2016 Biennial Co-chairs
The National Association of Women Judges is honored to host the 2016 IAWJ Biennial Conference
in Washington, DC. The dates of the Biennial Conference will be May 26-29, 2016. (Thursday
through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in 2016).
Since this is a multi-year, multi-national, multi-organizational undertaking, it is important
that the selection process be open and transparent and to that end, the following criteria will
guide the process for selecting the co-chairs for the 2016 Biennial.
Applicants interested in serving as co-chairs should have:
Additional considerations include:
- Demonstrated involvement in NAWJ and/or IAWJ
- Experience organizing NAWJ, IAWJ or other national, regional or state conferences
- International experience
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Willingness to make a significant time commitment to participate in conference calls, electronic
communication and in person meetings to advance the planning of the conference.
The selection committee will include:
- One co-chair should be based in Washington, DC in order to facilitate meetings and communications with
NAWJ and IAWJ leadership
- Additional co-chairs should reflect national representation
- Interested persons should submit a brief letter of interest to NAWJ Executive Director Marie Komisar,
firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, November 15, 2013.
- Decisions will be made by Dec 15, 2013.
- Judge Anna-Blackburne-Rigsby, President
- Judge Julie Frantz, President-Elect
- Judge Ann Bradley Walsh, International Director
- Judge Gladys Kessler, Past President
- Judge Amy Nechtem, Past President
- Marie Komisar, Executive Director
- Additional members may be added to the selection committee
Volunteer for NAWJ's 2016 IAWJ 13th Biennial International Conference Planning Committee
NAWJ is creating planning committees for the 2016 IAWJ Biennial Conference. Volunteers may serve on the
following committees: Friends; Education; Silent Auction; Publicity and Public Relations; Fundraising;
"Goodie Bags"; Hospitality; Tours and Entertainment; Scholarships; Opening Ceremony; Social Events; and Volunteers.
If you are interested in serving on the 2016 IAWJ Biennial Planning Committee, please notify Mary-Kathleen
Todd of your interest and any volunteer preferences. Ms. Todd may be reached by email at
National Association of Women Judges
2014 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference
March 12-15, 2014
NAWJ's 2014 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. at
The Westin Georgetown from
March 12-15, 2014. Click
here to download the registration form.
On the evening of November 6, NAWJ President Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, District of
Columbia Court of Appeals, hosted a kick-off for the planning of the 2014 Midyear Leadership
Conference at the offices of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Washington, D.C. Over 150 people
attended to support NAWJ's new President and plan for the Midyear Conference. A special thank you
2014 Host Committee Chair Morgan Lewis's Washington, D.C. Office Managing Partner Grace Speights,
and Co-Chairs Barbara L. Johnson, Esq., Partner at Paul Hastings LLC, and Beverly L. Perry, Esq.
Photos above and
New Orleans Proves a Cornucopia of Sociolegal Revelations,
Member Industry and Good Times
NAWJ Celebrates its 35th Annual Conference
Judging and all that Jazz Photo Albums on View
After two years of planning and leadership, 2013 Annual Conference Co-Chairs Hon. Mary Becnel
(40th Judicial District Court) and Hon. Bernette Joshua Johnson (Louisiana Supreme Court)
successfully and joyfully gathered judges, attorneys, authors, educators, New Orleneans,
Louisianans, members of the wider legal and women's communities to discuss current issues
including human trafficking, sexual assault in the military, women in prison, assisted
reproductive technology, the new politics of judicial selection, and life after judicial service.
Additional planning committee members included: Judge Tiffany Chase, Orleans Parish Civil
District Court; Judge June Berry Darensburg, 24th Judicial District Court; Judge Bernadette
G. D'Souza, Orleans Parish Civil District Court (Family); Judge Vanessa Guidry-Whipple, First
Circuit Court of Appeal; Judge Phyllis Montgomery Keaty, Third Circuit Court of Appeal;
Professor of Political Science Sally J. Kenney, Tulane University Newcomb College Endowed
Chair; Judge Rosemary Ledet, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal; Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano,
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal; Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, Leon Sarpy Distinguished Professor
of Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law; Judge Ethel Simms Julien, Orleans
Parish Civil District Court; Judge Sylvia Steib-Dunn, Office of Workers' Compensation; and
Judge Laurie A. White, Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.
Highlights included a welcoming reception hosted by the Louisiana Supreme Court at the Court,
and excursions to the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women and Eden House, a two-year
residential program for women who have been commercially and sexually exploited. Through Eden
House, women receive wrap-around services such as counseling, education, and job training.
The annual conference is always a time to share. During its annual business meeting, committees
convened to share news and advancements in the ongoing areas of human trafficking, domestic
violence, women in prison, international exchange, and in new projects of voter education and
tribal judges membership outreach. Board leadership reported work of the past year, and new
board members were sworn in.
Outstanding members were recognized with NAWJ's Annual Award. The Honorable Bernette Joshua
Johnson, Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, accepted this year Justice Joan Dempsey
Klein Award, during the Friends Luncheon. The award recognized Justice Johnson's assistance to
women judges in becoming more proficient in their profession, her persistence in solving the
legal, social and ethical problems associated with the judiciary, and working to increase the
number of women serving as judges. The Honorable Patricia Ann Hurst, Superior Court of the
State of Rhode Island, was also recognized at the Luncheon. She was honored with the Norma
Wickler Excellence in Service Award for her devotion to assuring that NAWJ's finances are in
order and compliant with tax, audit and regulatory requirements. During the Banquet, Professor
of Political Science Sally Kenney, was honored with The Florence K. Murray Award for her service
to NAWJ, and to the cause of gender diversity in the judiciary through her teaching, research
and activism. This year's Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award recognized Justice Joan K.
Irion, Chair of NAWJ's newly formed Judicial Elections Committee, for her entrepreneurial
creation of NAWJ's 'Informed Voters. Fair Judges' Project. Click
here to learn more about the
project. The Mattie Belle Davis Award Judge Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema. Judge Ipema presented the
first NAWJ Color of Justice and MentorJet programs for the community of San Diego, California
in 2011. This program is being continued on an annual basis. Judge Tamila Ipema sits on the
San Diego County Superior Court in California.
The Banquet was capped by the swearing-in of NAWJ's 34th President Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby,
Judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. A full list of this year's Board of Directors
may be found later in this Update.
NAWJ's "Judging and all That" Conference took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 9-13, 2013
at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Over 400 persons attended, including international judges from around the world.
Pin/Pendant Designed Especially for the New Orleans Conference for Sale
by Dominique Giordano Jewelry
This new pin/pendant has been co-designed by New Orleans Annual Conference Co-Chair Judge
Mary Hotard Becnel and jewelry designer Dominique Giordano. It is made of sterling silver with
fresh water pearls. It also comes in a gold version for women lawyers.
The jewelry designer is graciously donating 10% of sales back to NAWJ.
If you have questions or want to order email email@example.com,
download order form
here or visit www.dgiordano.com.
2013-2014 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The National Association of Women Judges swore in officers for its 2013-2014 year at
its Annual Gala Banquet and Business Meeting on Saturday October 12th in New Orleans.
The announcements were made nearing the end of one of NAWJ's most celebrated conferences.
Judging and all that Jazz, the Association's
35th Annual Conference which took place in downtown New Orleans, from October 9-13, 2013, at
host hotel The Ritz-Carlton. The Annual Business Meeting and Gala recognizes the Association's
year of achievements, and formally inducts new board members for the upcoming year.
Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Hon. Julie E. Frantz
Multnomah County Circuit Court
Vice President, Publications
Hon. Ariane Vuono
Massachusetts Appeals Court
Vice President, Districts
Hon. Lisa S. Walsh
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida
Hon. Marcella A. Holland
Circuit Court for Baltimore City
Hon. Diana Becton
Contra Costa County Superior Court
Immediate Past President
Hon. Joan V. Churchill
Immigration Court (Retired)
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Finance Committee Chair
Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy
New York State Supreme Court
New York, New York
Projects Committee Chair
Hon. Sue Pai Yang
New Jersey Workers Compensation Court (Retired)
Bridgewater, New Jersey
District 1 (ME, MA, NH, PR, RI)
Hon. MaryLou Muirhead
Boston Housing Court
District 2 (CT, NY, VT)
Hon. Betty J. Williams
Kings County Criminal Court
Brooklyn, New York
District 3 (DE, NJ, PA, Virgin Islands)
Hon. Sheila Woods-Skipper
Court of Common Pleas, 1st Judicial District
District 4 (DC, MD, VA)
Hon. Toni E. Clarke
Circuit Court for Prince George's County
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
District 5 (FL, GA, NC, SC)
Hon. Diana S. Eagon
Hennepin County District Court (Retired)
District 6 (AL, LA, MS, TN)
Hon. Joy Cossich Lobrano
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal
New Orleans, Louisiana
District 7 (MI, OH, WV)
Hon. Margaret A. Clark
Brown County Probate/Juvenile Court
District 8 (IL, IN, KY)
Hon. Ann Breen-Greco
Illinois State Board of Education
District 9 (IA, MO, WI)
Hon. Karen A. Romano
Iowa District Court
Des Moines, Iowa
District 10 (KS, MN, NE, ND, SD)
Hon. Debbie Kleven
Northeast Central Judicial District
Grand Forks, North Dakota
District 11 (AR, OK, TX)
Hon. Orlinda Naranjo
419th District Court
District 12 (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY)
Hon. Terry Fox
Colorado Court of Appeals
District 13 (AK, HI, ID, MT, WA, OR)
Hon. Catherine Easter
Anchorage Superior Court
District 14 (CA, NV)
Hon. Tamila E. Ipema
San Diego County Superior Court
Hon. Ann Walsh Bradley
Wisconsin Supreme Court
Hon. Norma Shapiro
U.S. District Court, Eastern District
New and Newly Interested Members
Signup for NAWJ Committees
All NAWJ members, regardless of membership category, are encouraged to participate
in NAWJ Committees for the upcoming 2013-2014 year. If you have not done so already,
please email committees of interest to you to Craig Evans at
firstname.lastname@example.org. See complete list of
open committees below:
Administrative Judiciary Committee
Conference Site Selection Committee
Domestic Violence Committee
Fairness and Access Committee
Federal Judges Committee
Human Trafficking Committee
IAWJ 2016 Planning Committees (see subcommittee lists above)
International Outreach Committee
International Courts Subcommittee
Judicial Exchanges/Visits Subcommittee
International Parental Abduction Liaison Network Committee
Judicial Academic Network/ Judicial Education Committee
Judicial Independence Committee
Judicial Selection Committee
Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Committee
Media and Public Relations Committee
Membership Outreach and Retention Committee
Data Review Subcommittee
Tribal Judges Outreach Subcommittee
Military Courts Committee
New Judges Committee
Retired/Senior Judges Committee
Rural Courts Committee
Web Site Improvements Special Task Force
Women in Prison Committee
Early-bird registration open until December 31, 2013!
Early-bird registration is now open for the International Association of Women Judges'
12th Biennial International Conference - Justice For All.
The Conference will be held in Arusha, Tanzania from May 5 - 9, 2014. The event is an inspirational, professional
and personal opportunity to learn from and connect with IAWJ members from around the world.
Early-bird registration fee is available until December 31, 2013.
We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity and register early! Many people are
already making their travel arrangements and planning personal safaris to tour incredible sites
such as the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, Tarangire, and the Kilimanjaro Mountain and
discover exotic Tanzanian wildlife.
You can find more information about the conference, the agenda, special hotel rates, member
organized and licensed tour listings and visa information on the
We anticipate a great turnout and look forward to seeing you there!
2014 IAWJ Conference Tour Offerings-Private Tours
NEW - Post Conference Offering
NEW (Post Conference) TANZANIA PARKS SAFARI
May 10-16, 2014 (6 nights/7 days)
here to download the Small World Travelers brochure.
A South Africa trip designed for women judges on their way to Tanzania for the 2014 IAWJ Biennial Conference
in Arusha is being planned by Judge Bev Cutler (U.S.) through Stanford University Educational Travel. If at
least 10 travelers sign up, the trip will go forward. The approximate dates are April 26 - May 5. The
tour guide will primarily speak English, and will focus on persons and places of interest to women judges.
It will include a three-day safari. Click
here to read the package of information. Contact Judge Cutler at
email@example.com for more information.
ARUSHA, NGORONGORO CRATER, SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
NAWJ Past President and active member Hon. Carolyn Temin has collaborated with
Premier Tours to create an exciting tour for IAWJ conference attendees. It will
require 10 participants in order to keep the price as quoted. It will begin and
end at a hotel in Arusha where you can stay for the entire conference. Participants
will be able to store their luggage at the hotel and not take it on the safari.
Land arrangements (including flights in Tanzania): $3755.00 per person sharing,
approximate. This price is based on ten people traveling together. Should the number
of participants decrease, Premier Tours reserves the right to adjust prices accordingly.
here to read the complete announcement. If you have any questions please call Judge
Temin at (267) 577-3401 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that these will be private, non-NAWJ trips.
NAWJ's 2014 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. at
The Westin Georgetown from March 12-15, 2014.
The 2014 International Association of
Women Judges Bi-Annual Conference will take place May 5-9, 2014 in Arusha, Tanzania.
Click here for more conference details.
NAWJ 36th Annual Conference will take place October 15-19, 2014 at
Westin Gaslamp Quarter
in San Diego, California.
NAWJ will hold its 37th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dates are yet to be determined.
The International Association of Women Judges Biennial will be hosted in the United States by the National
Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) in Washington D.C. from May 26-29, 2016.