MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
The Midyear Conference
Click here to view photos.
"It doesn't get any better than this," - - was heard expressed in awe at our elegant Supreme Court reception while
Chief Justice Roberts mingled with fellow members.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wearing her silver NAWJ Scales of Justice pin, then greeted us with a historical
nod to the connection of the Supreme Court Building to the women's movement, given it was built on the site of
what was formerly the location of the headquarters of the National Women's Party.
The reception followed a thoughtful discussion at the Court masterfully moderated by Professor Vicki Jackson of
Harvard Law School, comparing judicial independence issues for judges on different types of special courts with
those on general courts. Chief Judge Eric Washington of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Judge Pauline
Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Michael Ponsor, U.S. District Judge for the Western
District of Massachusetts, Dana Marks, Immigration Judge and President of the National Association of Immigration
Judges and Ann Breen-Greco, State Administrative Law Judge and Immediate Past Chair of the ABA Administrative Law
Conference provided a panel from diverse types of benches. An earlier panel reviewed the latest Supreme Court
immigration decisions, including one decided a few days earlier, to bring us up to date on that hot topic.
The Midyear Conference was a smashing success in every respect. We had record attendance, with our events at
capacity. Superlative praise for the quality of our speakers and programs has spontaneously poured in. We covered
a wide range of topics, including: the Violence Against Women Act, Tribal Court jurisdiction, Federal judicial
appointments, judicial independence issues with a special focus on administrative and magistrate judges, historical
discrimination against women's rights to inherit and pass benefits to others, immigration, and human trafficking.
The conference was a financial success thanks firstly to the generosity of our wonderful Friends Committee --
co-chaired by Elaine Metlin of Dickstein Shapiro and Nicole Erb of White and Case --, Life Members who made special
donations and Board members who contributed back their travel expenses, and secondly to the large number of you
who registered to attend.
Our Midyear Conference began with our annual meeting on Capitol Hill in the House of Representatives with the
Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of District of Columbia our lead
speaker, covered topics of mutual concern including the recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act, Federal
judicial appointments, and lack of voting representation for residents of the District of Columbia. We were inspired
and enthralled by ABA President Laurel Bellows, who gave the keynote, and by Interior Department Solicitor Hilary
Tompkins who drew on her own experiences as a native American who chose to work for the Tribal justice system when
she was a young lawyer. Former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend put in a plug for the importance of
our luncheon get together to further mutual understanding between members of the different branches of government.
Senior Counsel Maggie Whitney from the Senate Judiciary Committee's majority staff shared the frustrations they face
in trying to move nominations for judicial appointments.
A special feature was our joint program with the Shakespeare Theatre, which included a reading of the passage in
Henry V which discusses Salic Law and its prohibition of women's rights of
succession. This inspired us to consider the topic of barriers in modern times to women's rights to confer benefits
on men, such as social security benefits for widowers and military housing benefits for husbands of female officers,
which were considered in Supreme Court cases argued by Justice Ginsburg before she became a member of the Court.
Well known attorney Abbe Lowell greeted us on behalf of the Bard Association of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
The law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P. (now Norton Rose Fulbright) again hosted us for an elegant reception
at their office.
Our all day trafficking training program received such high acclaim that we have been invited to discuss ways we can:
In addition to our educational programs, tours, and receptions, there was of course a business side to the conference.
At the full Board meeting, Board Members exchanged their midyear reports. Committee chairs in town were all invited
to present their reports, as well, and many attended to do so. Two votes of significance:
- assist DHS [the Homeland Security Department] with its Blue Campaign to eradicate human trafficking, and
- partner further with the American Bar Association's Task Force on Human Trafficking.
The IAWJ Board joined us for our Thursday and Friday evening receptions. Members of the Shakespeare Theatre Bard
Association joined us for our Thursday evening program and reception. Total attendance topped 200 at the Supreme
Court events, 170 at our Thursday events, and 100 at the all-day training session on Saturday. We concluded with a
tea party break, to bring the discussions to a gradual close, as we look ahead to continuing the discussions through
our Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
- The Board voted a small increase in dues of $10/year effective June 1, 2013, with a second $10 increase to take
effect January 1, 2015, coupled with an indefinite reduction in the rate of dues for first time members to $125,
for the first year, to take effect immediately.
- The Board voted to co-sponsor an ABA resolution to establish a network of U.S. judges regarding the Hague
Convention on International Child Abduction.
- Members of the Resource Board conducted a meeting with members of our leadership. They adopted a Mission statement
and left greatly energized to greater involvement.
- The District Directors held a separate meeting.
- The Committee Chairs held their first ever separate meeting. Committee Chairs Liaison Sandra Robinson led the meeting.
- The Administrative Judiciary Committee met at the nearby offices of their chair Peg Mangan.
- The conference Scholarship subcommittee found time to meet.
- The Personnel committee met.
- There was a no host get together of new judges at the hotel bar.
- The Board of Directors of the IAWJ was meeting simultaneously. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley our International Director
attended that meeting, as did some of our members who serve on the IAWJ Board of Managerial Trustees.
Other Recent & Upcoming Events
1. Canadian Chapter 2013 Conference
Following the NAWJ Midyear, I traveled to Montreal to participate in the 2013 conference of the Canadian IAWJ Chapter,
presented jointly by the Canadian National Judicial Institute. While networking with the our sister Canadian Chapter
just to our North, I was able to spend some time with Justice Eusebeo Munuo, IAWJ President, who was attending as well.
Following an opening reception at the Quebec Court of Appeal, a handsome old building which has been beautifully remodeled,
we met for 2 ½ days discussing best techniques for communicating effectively with vulnerable litigants and learning about
problem solving courts that work. The theme was:
Living at the Margins: Judging Fairly, Judging Responsively.
Particularly striking and impressive was the session on problem court solving court techniques, presented by Judge
Karen Ruddy by video from her court room in the Yukon Territory. A conversation on the closing day with Retired
Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dube, Canada's second woman on the Canadian Supreme Court, was breathtakingly frank and inspirational.
2. Joint Program with ABA Task Force on Human Trafficking
NAWJ and the ABA Task Force on Human Trafficking held a joint seminar on May 21 in Chicago. Judge Ann Breen-Greco,
District Director for District 8, organized the seminar in her capacity as NAWJ Liaison with the ABA Task Force
on Human Trafficking. Over 70 attended.
3. 2013 Infinity Project in Iowa
The Infinity Project will be hosted in Iowa on June 20, 2013. NAWJ will again be co-sponsoring, and I plan to attend
to represent NAWJ. With the confirmation last month of Judge Jane Kelley of Iowa to the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,
this is a special year. The Infinity Project has sponsored a rotating CLE and Summit meeting each year since 2008 in one
of the states that comprise the 8th Circuit, the goal being to highlight the lack of women on the 8th Circuit, ensure a
pipeline of qualified women applicants, and to engage Senators and the President to encourage the appointment of women
to the 8th Circuit. Until the confirmation of Judge Kelly in April, there had only been one woman ever on the 8th Circuit,
and none for several years. A number of Judge Kelly's new colleagues on the 8th Circuit plan to be there.
4. Kickoff Reception for 2014 Annual Conference in San Diego
June 26 will find me in San Diego for a kick off for the 2014 Annual Conference. Conference Chairs Judges Tamila Ipema
and Margie Woods have the conference planning well under way.
1. The Board voted to Co-Sponsor a resolution proposed by the ABA Section of International Law to the ABA House of
Delegates to encourage the establishment of a network of U.S. judges to facilitate application of the Hague Convention
on International Child Abduction.
2. The Executive Committee voted to co-sponsor the 2013 Infinity Project described above, to be conducted on June 20
in Des Moines, Iowa. NAWJ Amicus Member, Professor Sally Kenney of the Newcomb College Institute at Tulane University,
will present an ethics program regarding the importance of diversity on the bench. The program was organized by NAWJ
Member and U.S. Magistrate Judge Celeste Bremer.
NAWJ Committees are active and busy.
The Awards Committee has prepared its announcement for the 2013
NAWJ Annual awards - see the announcement below - and has expanded its consideration to include nominations for some
outside awards. The Committee is presently considering whether to make a nomination for the prestigious
NCSC Rehnquist Award.
The Audit Committee is preparing its annual review of the tax
return and audit.
The New Orleans and San Diego Conference committees are hard at work on the
2013 and 2014 conferences respectively. I plan to attend a kickoff event of the San Diego conference in late June.
A conference committee for the NAWJ Annual Conference 2015 in Salt Lake City is starting to get organized, under the
leadership of Judge Michele Christiansen.
The Informed Voter Project of our new Elections Committee has prepared a
proposed message for voters adopting the theme "Informed Voters. Fair Judges." with a tag line of "Justice free from
Special Interest." Many Thanks to Justices Joan Irion and Judith McConnell for taking the lead on this.
The Human Trafficking subcommittee has a meeting scheduled to get working
on its next steps following our successful all day human trafficking training at the Midyear. Program planning is
under way for two sessions as part of the 2013 Annual Conference and a site visit to the Eden Shelter in New Orleans.
The International Outreach Conference Scholarship Subcommittee is preparing
criteria and an announcement on Kaufman, and possibly other scholarships, for the 2013 Annual Conference this fall. The
scholarships will be available for a few financially needy international judges.
A working group of the 2016 Biennial Proposal Special Committee is
studying next steps following the IAWJ Board's response to NAWJ's proposal submitted in February.
A subcommittee of the Executive Committee is undertaking a comprehensive
review of NAWJ policies, which has not been done for many years. Thank You to Immediate Past President, Judge
Amy Nechtem, for agreeing to take this on.
Vacancy in Rural Courts Committee Chair
We need a chair for the Rural Courts Committee. This Committee seeks 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 Executive
Committee and Board.
It is important that we have this committee covered. No prior experience is necessary. Committee Chairs Liaison
Sandra Robinson would be happy to get you started. Please let me know if you would be willing to chair it.
Join the National Association of Women Lawyers for our 2013 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon
NAWJ Member Professor Judith Resnik Honored with 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.
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
Order tickets/tables - Individual tickets costs $125. Reserved tables seating 10 are available for $1,500.
Table placement will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a table, contact Beverly
Tate at 312-988-5668 or email Beverly.Tate@americanbar.org.
Download the invitation
NAWJ President-Elect Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby Honors NAWJ Past President
Justice LaTia Martin
NAWJ Member Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam Honored as First African-American Woman Appointed
to the New York State Court of Appeals
On Monday, June 3rd, the New York Chapter of NAWJ held its Annual Summer Dinner to honor
NAWJ member Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, and Judge Jenny Rivera, for their appointments to
the New York State Court of Appeals. Judge Abdus-Salaam is the first African-American woman
to serve on the New York State Court of Appeals. NAWJ President-Elect Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby
travelled from Washington, D.C. to recognize NAWJ Past President Justice La Tia Martin's
ten years of service to NAWJ's Board of Directors. Now Bronx County Supreme Court Justice,
she was NAWJ's 29th President. Also in attendance was NAWJ Vice President of Publications,
Judge Tanya R. Kennedy, New York State Supreme Court.
METROPOLITAN BLACK BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK CITY
HONORS NAWJ PAST PRESIDENT LA TIA MARTIN AS JURIST OF THE YEAR
The Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) held its 29th Anniversary Awards Gala on Friday,
May 10, 2013 at Gotham Hall in New York, NY. The theme of the Gala was
"Celebrating Visionaries and Leadership." The Honorable Cheryl J. Gonzales, Housing Court Judge,
New York County and the Honorable Alvin M. Yearwood, Acting Supreme Court Justice, Bronx County
served as the Co-Chairs of the MBBA Gala Committee. (Pictured with her husband is this year's
MBBA Jurist of the Year, Justice LaTia W. Martin, Supreme Court, Bronx County, and NAWJ
Past President for 2008-2009.)
Click Your Heels- A Virtual March for Gender Equity
Chisa Putnam, longtime NAWJ member and Color of Justice Program presenter, is a member of the ABA
Gender Equity Taskforce. She sends along the following announcement: The ABA Gender Equity Task
Force needs NAWJ's participation and promotion of our virtual march for gender equity.
Participating is as simple as clicking your heels three times. 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.
Why is this important and what is the point?
The visual of hundreds of thousands of people descending on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
and the sea of people coming together for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963
has become an iconic representation of people standing in concert to effect change. While nothing
can ever replace the historic transcendence of that day, in this new millennium a virtual voice
carries the same power and ability to effect change as a physical presence.
Like in 1963, people of today still struggle with the ability to be treated equally in the work
place. What is gender equity? It is equal pay for equal work. It is paternity leave without
stigma. It is flexible time to meet personal and family needs, while still being able to participate
and make a productive contribution to the work place. It is the recognition of the differences
between men and women without diminishing the value and contribution each provide. In a word,
it is "fairness."
Our 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. 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 6-9, 2014 in 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.