NAWJ Monthly Update July 2013

Written by National Association of Women Judges|July 01, 2013|Monthly Update Archive

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July 2013

In This Issue:
Joan Churchill - June 23, 2013

This month I want to begin with a word of appreciation to YOU, our wonderful members, for your membership. Without you, there would be no NAWJ. Membership is the life blood of our organization. It provides crucial support for NAWJ's mission. It gives credibility to our voice in what we stand for:
--diversity in the judicial system;
--a judiciary that looks like the society it serves;
--access to justice for all.

It is a delight to be involved with an organization with such an active membership, but even if you do nothing more than belong, be assured that your membership is meaningful to the organization and appreciated.

While there are many benefits of membership, in the end, what you give in support simply by being a member is tremendously important. Numbers matter. Keeping up our numbers is crucial to our ability to command respect. A few words about what you can do to help increase our numbers.
  • Please make sure to renew promptly before your dues expire. For those interested in a permanent, dues free commitment, we invite you to convert to Life Membership.
  • Take steps to encourage colleagues and friends to join or rejoin. Note, we welcome male members. Just think, if everyone would bring in just one member, our numbers would double. Additionally, if you feel so inclined, you can give the gift of membership. See the form below. For first time members, we now offer a special rate of only $125/year.

To make renewing every easier, Craig Evans of our staff is working with our website tech folks to install an automatic renewal button you can select, to authorize renewals by credit card without the need for an invoice. We encourage everyone to renew, rejoin or join online # where we expect to be able to offer the automatic renewal feature shortly. For those interested in Life Membership, the $3,000 one-time dues payment can be divided into 3 installments.

As you know, there are concrete benefits to membership you can tout, in addition to the satisfaction of helping improve the judiciary.
  • There is camaraderie and networking with judges from different types of courts, from other parts of the country and even the world.
  • NAWJ members are members of the IAWJ [International Association of Women Judges].
  • We provide top notch judicial education.
  • We hold conferences in interesting locations.
  • There is the opportunity to inspire youth to pursue legal and judicial careers, and women in prison to lead productive lives.

My activities as your President this month provide excellent examples of the breadth of activities in which NAWJ and its members are involved.

On June 5, NAWJ member Jenny Yang was sworn in as a commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Executive Director Marie Komisar and I attended on behalf of NAWJ. Commissioner Yang's appointment is a historic one. It marks the first time that all five commissioners of the EEOC are female.

(Caption: IOWA NAWJ Infinity Event, June 20, 2013, Des Moines Iowa. Left to right: Hon. Anuradha Vaitheswaran, Iowa Court of Appeals; Hon. Liza Ovram, Iowa District Court; Hon. Karen Romano, Iowa District Court; Prof. Sally Kenney; Hon. Joan Churchill; Hon. Mary Tabor Iowa Court of Appeals; Hon. Romonda Belcher, Iowa District Court; Hon. Celeste Bremer, U.S. Magistrate Judge; Hon. Artis Reis, Iowa District Court.)

On June 20, the Infinity Project, which encourages the appointment of more women to positions in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, held its annual summit. Longtime NAWJ Member Celeste Bremmer, a Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, organized this year's summit in Iowa. NAWJ co-sponsored the event. Hon. Joan Churchill, NAWJ President (far left) and Hon. Karen Romano (far right), NAWJ District 9 Director, with Hon. Jane Kelly (center) a new judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, are pictured in photo, left.

The number of female judges on the 8th United States Circuit Appeals Court doubled this month with the appointment and confirmation of Judge Jane Kelly to a seat on that court - 20 years and 10 appointments after the first and so far only woman to have been appointed to that court, Judge Diana Murphy of Minnesota. I was thrilled to celebrate with Judge Kelly and judges of the 8th Circuit and the Iowa bar and bench at the Infinity Summit, at which our member Professor Sally Kenney, Executive Director of the Newcomb Institute at Tulane University, delivered two lectures on the importance of women on the bench.

On June 10 the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Equal Pay Act was celebrated by President Obama at the White House, with Executive Director Marie Komisar and me in attendance (photo far left.). President Obama lauded the progress of the past 50 years and laid out the challenge for the future to increase the momentum to close the gap. (President Churchill in the White House lobby, photo: immediate left.)

On June 18, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former Chief Judge Patricia Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and NAWJ founding member and 3rd President, Judge Gladys Kessler, U. S. District Court for D.C., participated in a fascinating discussion on the history of women in the DC Circuit organized by the U.S. D.C. Circuit Court Historical Society. Justice Ginsburg reminisced about the t-shirt NAWJ presented her that said "I'm Ruth, not Sandra."

On May 22, Landmark Sponsor firm White & Case, LLP under the leadership of Resource Board Member Nicole Erb, Esq., who co-chaired the Host Committee of our very successful 2013 Midyear Friends Committee, put on NAWJ's Color of Justice and Mentor Jet programs at their offices for 6th and 7th graders who attend the Washington Middle School for Girls. President Elect Anna Blackburne-Rigsby who sits on the DC Court of Appeals, new NAWJ member Vanessa Hall, a Judge at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and I spoke to the girls, and I participated in the Mentor Jet session. None of them currently are contemplating a legal or judicial career, (rather they are contemplating careers such as neuroscience and music) but we may have changed that. It was a pleasure to participate.

Later this month I shall attend a kick off reception for the 2014 Annual Conference in San Diego, as the planning for that conference next year moves into high gear.

Thus this very month alone provides a good example of the many roles NAWJ plays. From advocacy for filling federal judicial vacancies and appointment of women and minorities to fill them, to planning for conferences, to putting on our signature projects such as Color of Justice and Mentor Jet, to celebrating advancement of our members and the Equal Pay Act, you can see that NAWJ continues to fill its multiple roles of advocating for a more inclusive judiciary, providing opportunities for networking and camaraderie, providing top notch judicial education, and providing outreach to the disadvantaged in our society. Thank you again for your part as a member.

Call for Nominations for 2013-2014 NAWJ Board of
Directors Positions

The Nominating Committee of the National Association of Women Judges seeks nominees for the following positions in the 2013-2014 term:

Vice President for Districts
Vice President for Publications
International Director

The duties of these positions are set out in the Bylaws, Art. X (Duties of Officers) and Art. VIII (Representatives of Other Organizations.)

NAWJ Bylaws:
"The Nominating Committee shall present at least one (l) nominee for each officer's position. A nomination for each officer's position also may be submitted in writing to the Nominating Committee by petition of no less than nine (9) voting members of the organization at least sixty (60) days prior to the Annual Meeting. The list of nominees for each position designated by the Nominating Committee and by petition shall be circulated to the voting membership at least thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Meeting. Nominations for all officer positions may also be made by voting members from the floor at the Annual Meeting provided such nominees' names have previously been submitted to the Nominating Committee and the Nominating Committee has failed to endorse their candidacy."

We invite you to nominate yourself or another member (with consent) for any of these offices.

Only voting members, current members who are either sitting or retired member judges, in good standing are eligible to hold office and remain subject to the canons of judicial conduct.

Please submit a letter stating the roles the nominee has played in NAWJ activities, including particular accomplishments you wish to bring to the committee's attention, and the nominee's curriculum vitae. The letter also should include a paragraph on the strengths the nominee would bring to the leadership of the organization, such as, for example, past financial experience for the position of treasurer. Current officers seeking a different office must submit a letter of nomination. The President-Elect must have served a term as Vice President, Treasurer, or Secretary, or as Chair of the Projects Committee, the Resource Development Committee, or the Finance Committee. Candidates for the position of President-Elect should also address their plans to continue and build on NAWJ's existing programs and implement NAWJ's Long-Range Strategic Plan, which can be found at NAWJ's website.

Individual nominations and nominations by petition must be submitted to the Nominating Committee by FRIDAY JULY 12, 2013.

Please address letters to:
National Association of Women Judges
ATTN: Hon. Amy Nechtem
1341 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 4.2
Washington, D.C. 20036
Fax: (202) 393-0125 or E-mail:

Judge Amy Nechtem, Massachusetts Juvenile Court, Chair
Justice Carol Beier, Kansas Supreme Court
Judge Bernice Donald, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Judge Carol Feinman, New York City Civil Court, Kings County
Judge Katherine Hansen, 36th District Court, Michigan
Judge Gladys Kessler, United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Judge Brenda Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court, Missouri
Judge Irma Lopez-Defillo, Immigration Court (USDOJ), Puerto Rico
Presiding Justice Judith McConnell, Court of Appeal, 4th Appellate District, Division I
Hon. Ellen Rosenblum, Attorney General, Oregon Department of Justice
Judge Norma Shapiro, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania


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 the Honorable Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year Award and for the Florence K. Murray Award. To assist you in nominating a deserving candidate, sample forms may be accessed by clicking the links below.

In addition, nominations are also being sought for the Mattie Belle Davis Award, which is selected by the President in consultation with the NAWJ Executive Committee, and the Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award, which is selected by the President.

Nominations are being accepted now. The deadline for submitting nominations for all awards is August 15, 2013.


The Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year Award
Honoring a judge who brings distinction to her office and to the NAWJ as exemplified by our founding mother, Justice Joan Dempsey Klein. Click here for guidelines for the KLEIN Award.

The Florence K. Murray Award
Presented annually to a nominee who is not a judge, who has, by example or otherwise, influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women attorneys, or advanced opportunities for women within the legal profession. Click here for guidelines for the MURRAY Award.

The Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award
For outstanding leadership in promoting the vision, core values and mission of NAWJ.

The Mattie Belle Davis Award
This award is selected by the President in consultation with Executive Committee.
  • The awardee should be a member who has gone above and beyond his or her role as member and volunteer to help make a difference in the organization and furthered its mission, as the Honorable Mattie Belle Davis did.
  • The awardee should not be or have been a member of the Executive Committee of the NAWJ.
  • The awardee should be an individual dedicated to furthering and supporting women in the legal profession.

Awards will be given out during the 35th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Please submit completed nominations no later than August 15th to by mail or fax to:

National Association of Women Judges
Attn: Hon. Barbara Madsen
1341 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036-1834
Fax: 202-393-0125

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, Washington Supreme Court, Chair
Judge Claudia Barber, District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings
Presiding Judge Diana Becton, Contra Costa County Superior Court, California
Hon. Diana Eagon, Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota (Retired)
Justice Sheri Roman, New York State Appellate Division, 2nd Department

October 9-13, 2013
The Ritz-Carlton
New Orleans, Louisiana

Register Now!
Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.
Conference registration fees:
First Time NAWJ Member Attendee Rate: $525
NAWJ Member Attendee Rate: $595
Non-NAWJ Member Attendee Rate: $625
Guest Rate: $575 (Does not include education sessions)

The conference will be held at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans.
Click here to reach the hotel's online reservation system.
Room Reservations: (504) 524-1331 or (800)-542-8680
NAWJ Rate:
$245/night, plus applicable taxes, single or double occupancy

Click here to view the conference agenda.

Pin/Pendant Designed Especially for the New Orleans Conference for Sale
by Dominique Giordano Jewelry

NAWJ Pin/Pendant


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, download order form here or visit


The "Give the Gift of Membership" Campaign is underway again. Please note that you can give a membership to a first-time member at the reduced rate of $125. Click here to download the gift form. Also, you may click here to give the gift of membership online.

Join the National Association of Women Lawyers for our 2013 Annual Meeting
& Awards Luncheon

NAWJ Member Professor Judith Resnik to be Honored
with the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award

JULY 25, 2013
The Waldorf Astoria New York Hotel
301 Park Avenue
New York, New York

National Association of Women Judges Joins as a Co-Sponsor!

Join over 800 leading women lawyers from across the country at the National Association of Women Lawyers' 2013 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon held on July 25, 2013 at the historic Waldorf Astoria New York Hotel in New York, New York. NAWL will honor those who have made significant contributions to diversifying the legal profession as well as its members, who have devoted their time and efforts to NAWL. In addition, you will have the opportunity to participate in interesting and timely CLE programs along with networking events, including NAWL's Networking Night of Giving benefitting inMotion.

Click here for comprehensive Annual Meeting information.

Join the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession for Its 23rd Annual
Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards Luncheon

Sunday, August 11, 2013

12:00 noon-2:00 p.m.

San Francisco, California
(During the ABA Annual Meeting)


Honorable Mazie K. Hirono, Senator, U.S. Congress, Honolulu, HI
Sara Holtz, Founder & CEO, ClientFocus, San Francisco, CA
Honorable Gladys Kessler, Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
Marygold Shire Melli, Voss-Bascom Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI
Therese M. Stewart, Chief Deputy City Attorney, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Two tables have been reserved at the Margaret Brent Award Luncheon for NAWJ FRIENDS of JUDGE GLADYS KESSLER. If you have a ticket for the luncheon and would like to sit with other NAWJ Members, look for the tables labeled "Gladys Kessler." First come, first served.

Individual tickets and tables may be ordered from the ABA by downloading the invitation here, or contacting Beverly Tate at 312-988-5668 or email

Pre 2014 IAWJ Conference Tour Offerings-Private Tours

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. Click here to read the complete announcement. If you have any questions please call Judge Temin at (267) 577-3401 or email here at

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 be a go. Dates are approximately April 26 - May 5. The tour guide will focus on persons and places of interest to women judges. It will include a three-day safari. A mix of international judges going on this trip is welcome. The guide will primarily make use of the English language. Click here to read the package of information. Contact Judge Cutler at for more information.

Please note that these will be private, non-NAWJ trips.

NAWJ Rural Courts Committee Announces New Leadership
Iowa Judges Judge Rose Anne Mefford (Chair)
and Annette J. Scieszinski (Vice-Chair)

NAWJ President Joan Churchill announces the appointment of Iowa District Associate Judge Rose Anne Mefford, Eighth Judicial District, as chair of NAWJ's Rural Courts Committee. Iowa District Court Judge Annette J. Scieszinski will serve as Vice-Chair.

The mission of NAWJ's Rural Courts Committee is to ensure that judges who sit in rural areas at all levels of the judiciary are fully included and reflected in all aspects of NAWJ membership, leadership, networking and other activities; that the unique needs and interests of rural judges and their courts are reflected in NAWJ's educational programming, regional conferences and other initiatives; and that proposed legislation and other issues having an impact on rural judges and courts are fully addressed, and appropriate action taken, by the Board of Directors.

Judicial Exchange Subcommittee Seeks Volunteers
for Visiting International Judges

NAWJ judicial members and the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) have expressed interest in visiting each other's courts. The Hon. Sue Pai Yang, NAWJ Subcommittee Chair for Judicial Exchanges under NAWJ's International Outreach Committee, and members of this subcommittee, which include Hon. Marguerite Downing, Hon. Teresa Guerrero-Daley, Hon. Caryn Hines, Hon. Michelle Hollar-Gregory and Ms. Claire Smearman, are developing a world-wide network of judges willing to co-ordinate visits to courts within their countries. Judges from China, Taiwan, California, Nevada, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. have signed on. All NAWJ members visiting other countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America are encouraged to personally follow up with international judges they meet in their travels to help develop a network of coordinators. Staff persons working in U.S. Embassies abroad are willing to coordinate court visits in the countries where they are located.

The Subcommittee seeks volunteers to be U.S. and international coordinators to facilitate NAWJ or IAWJ judges' wishes to visit a court in a particular region, district or country. We would like to announce identifiable contacts for persons wishing to visit.

NAWJ District Directors are also helping to identify judges to be city, state or regional coordinators in the United States' informal networks. Past activities have led to establishing lectures for the visiting judge, coordinating an extended visit for an international judge to U.S. courts, and hosting judges in their homes. These are not requirements of a coordinator but merely show where interactions have led by mutual consent. We are not limiting international judge coordinators to be members of IAWJ but hope this involvement will encourage them to join IAWJ.

Contact Subcommittee Chair Hon, Sue Pai Yang at for more information.

National Center for State Courts
2013 Court Technology Conference
Baltimore, Maryland
September 17-19, 2013

The National Center for State Courts is pleased to extend a special discount rate to members of the National Association of Women Judges to attend the 2013 Court Technology Conference (CTC) in Baltimore, Maryland, September 17-19, 2013. Members who register prior to August 31, 2013 are eligible for a reduced conference registration fee of $650. That is $100 off the regular rate, and $250 less than the on-site rate.

NAWJ members who wish to take advantage of this reduced rate must contact NCSC's Conference Services Department in order to have their membership status verified. Once their eligibility is verified, members will be able to register online, via fax, or via US Mail. The Conference Services Department can be reached by email at or via telephone at 1-888-609-4023.

Click here to reach the conference website. Click here to read NCSC's letter to NAWJ.

Click Your Heels- A Virtual March for Gender Equity
through the ABA's Day of the Woman on August 10, 2013

Chisa Putnam, longtime NAWJ member and Color of Justice Program presenter, is a member of the ABA Gender Equity Taskforce. The taskforce is advancing the following message: The ABA Gender Equity Task Force needs NAWJ's participation and promotion of our virtual march for gender equity.

Click on the link to the website. Click the vote button next to the red shoes and click the submit button. Then you have "Clicked" your heels for gender equity.

The march started on Equal Pay Day on April 9th and will continue to run through the ABA's Day of the Woman on August 10th 2013.

NAWJ Districts 3, 4 and its Maryland Chapter will join for a Beach Brunch on Sunday July 14, 2013 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. NAWJ President Hon. Joan V. Churchill will host the event at her home. Honored guests include: Delaware Chief Justice Myron Steele, President of the Conference of Chief Justices, and Maryland Chief Judge Robert Bell, who will be honored on his retirement. Also invited are District of Columbia Chief Judge Eric Washington and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. All are welcome. Registration is $35 per person. Download the form here. Contact District 3 Director Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper at for more information.

NAWJ 35th Annual Conference will take place October 9-13, 2013 at The Ritz Carlton in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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.

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