NAWJ Monthly Update June 2014

Written by National Association of Women Judges|June 01, 2014|Monthly Update Archive

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June 2014

In This Issue:

Greetings NAWJ Members and Friends!

The month of June brings the start of the summer and the chance for me to update you on a number of exciting recent and upcoming programs.

  • International Association of Women Judges Biennial Conference - I had the privilege to attend the 12th Biennial International Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, on May 4 - 8, 2014, along with over 70 U.S. judges and attendees, as well as over 500 women judges from around the world. The conference was hosted by IAWJ President, Justice Eusebia Munuo, of Tanzania who chose "Justice for All" as the theme for the conference. During the opening ceremonies on May 5, 2014, Tanzania's President, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, specifically discussed how access to justice is becoming an ever more critical theme in the work of so many developing countries.
  • In addition, this year's programming offered a number of interesting panels, including: "Reflections on the Changing Meaning of 'Justice for All,'" "Justice for Vulnerable Witnesses," "The Global Leadership of Women: Translating Lessons Learned at the International Tribunals to Low-Resource Courts," and "Being the Change You Want to See in the World: National Women Judges Associations and 'Justice for All,'" moderated by NAWJ Past President, Judge Vanessa Ruiz of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. I also had the chance to encourage many of the participating judges to attend the next biennial conference in 2016, which will be hosted in our very own Washington, D.C.
  • With an overwhelming majority, conference delegates passed a resolution condemning the kidnapping of Nigerian Girls. The resolution was proposed by the North American region (US and Canada). Joining me in leadership were NAWJ International Director Ann Walsh Bradley, and Canadian representative Hon. Lucy LaVigne (Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick) in consultation with the Nigerian delegation. Final statement in the resolution: We, the delegates in attendance at the 12th Biennial Conference of the IAWJ in Tanzania are unshakable in our resolve to end gender based violence and to educate and raise awareness of the rights to justice for all and the non-negotiable mandate that the Rule of Law prevail.

  • Washington School for Girls Graduation - the Washington (Middle) School for Girls in Washington, D.C., offered me the opportunity to serve as this year's graduation speaker. Sixteen beautiful and brilliant young women graduated from the eighth grade. It was my pleasure to meet and address this group of future leaders. During my speech, I called on the girls to: (1) identify their passions; (2) develop their own voices; and (3) live up to their potential.
  • National Constitution Center and NAWJ Judicial Independence Panel - I will represent the NAWJ at a panel on judicial independence on June 9, 2014, in Philadelphia, PA, entitled: "A Judge's Perspective on Current Threats to a Fair and Impartial Judiciary." The panel is being co-sponsored by the National Constitution Center and I will be joined by former Iowa Supreme Court Justice, Marsha Ternus, and Florida Supreme Court Justice, Barbara Pariente. During this exciting panel, I will highlight the work of the "Informed Voters - Fair Judges" Project. Please watch live at: The panel begins at 12 pm EDT.

Keep up the great work!

Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby

Informed Voters Fair Judges
A Judge's Perspective on a Fair and Impartial Judiciary
June 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM
National Constitution Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(C-Span will cover the June 9th Symposium and will air it in July.)

(L-R: NAWJ President Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby; Hon. Marcia Ternus; Justice Barbara J. Pariente and forum moderator.)

As America's forum for constitutional dialogue, the National Constitution Center invited citizens to join the conversation through town hall programs and engages diverse, distinguished leaders of government, public policy, journalism, and scholarship for timely discussions and debates.

On Monday, June 9, 2014 at 12 p.m., NAWJ's Informed Voters Project took center stage with an insider's look at the challenges state court judges face in charged political environments.

Participants in the event featured:

Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Justice Barbara J. Pariente, Florida Supreme Court
Hon. Marsha Ternus, Former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court

C-Span will cover the June 9th Symposium will air it in July.

Call for Nominations for
2014-2015 NAWJ Board of Directors Positions

The Nominating Committee of the National Association of Women Judges seeks nominees for the following positions for the 2014 - 2015 term:

Vice President for Districts
Vice President for Publications
ABA Delegate


The duties of the above positions are set out in the NAWJ Bylaws at:
Article. X (Duties of Officers) and
Article. VIII (Representatives to Other Organizations.)

Article. IX provides:

§1: "Only voting members of the organization in good standing shall be eligible to hold office." §2(b) "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."

Article. XI, §7 provides:

"The Nominating Committee, chaired by the Immediate Past President, shall consist of no less than nine (9) members selected to afford fair representation to all regions of the country. Names of the members of the Nominating Committee shall be circulated by the President to the voting members not less than ninety (90) days prior to the Annual Meeting."

* * *

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 vita. 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, Secretary or Treasurer, or, as Chair of the Projects 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 projects and programs and to implement NAWJ's Strategic Plan, which can be found at NAWJ's website.

Individual nominations, nominations by petition and letters of support must be submitted to the Nominating Committee by Friday, July 11, 2014.

Please address letters to:
National Association of Women Judges
ATTN: Hon. Joan Churchill, Chair, Nominating Committee
1341 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 4.2
Washington, D.C. 20036
Fax: (202) 393-0125 or
Email: and

* * *


Judge Joan Churchill, United States Immigration Court for Arlington, Virginia (Retired), Chair

Justice Carol Beier, Kansas Supreme Court
Judge Marjorie Carter, Superior Court of California, Orange County (Retired)
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
Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, Louisiana Supreme Court
Judge Gladys Kessler, United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Judge Brenda Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court, Missouri (Retired)
Presiding Justice Judith McConnell, Court of Appeal, California
Chief Judge Amy Nechtem, Massachusetts Juvenile Court
Judge Vanessa Ruiz, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Judge Norma Shapiro, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Judge Bea Ann Smith, Texas Court of Appeals (Retired)

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. Nominations will be accepted until the deadline of August 8, 2014. To assist you in nominating candidates for these two awards, click here for application guidelines for the KLEIN Award, and here for the MURRAY Award.

In addition, the Executive Committee and the President will respectively select 2014 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 36th Annual Conference in San Diego, California.

Please submit completed nominations no later than August 8 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

Hon. Barbara Madsen, Washington Supreme Court, Chair
Hon. Diana Becton, Contra Costa County Superior Court, California
Hon. Marjorie Carter (Retired), California
Hon. Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania
Hon. Bernette Johnson. Louisiana Supreme Court
Hon. Brenda Loftin (Retired), Missouri
Hon. Amy Nechtem, Massachusetts Juvenile Court

ABA Commission on Women in the Profession
2014 Margaret Brent Award Honorees
presented at
Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards Luncheon
Sunday, August 10th
Boston, Massachusetts
(ABA Annual Meeting)

Hon. Nancy Gertner: Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School; U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Retired);
Anastasia D. Kelly, Co-Managing Partner (Americas), DLA Piper; Washington, D.C.
Allie B. Latimer, Former General Counsel, General Services Administration; Washington, D.C.
Hon. Kathryn Doi Todd, California Court of Appeal, Second District (Retired), Los Angeles, CA
Marissa C. Wesely, Of Counsel, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York, NY

NAWJ 36th Annual Conference
Protecting and Advancing Meaningful Access to Justice
October 15-19, 2014 • San Diego, CA
The Westin Gaslamp Quarter

Download the Conference brochure here and share with friends.

Hon. Tamila E. Ipema • Hon. Margie G. Woods

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court
Janet Napolitano, President, University of California
Professor Anita F. Hill, Brandeis University
Professor Charles G. Ogletree, Jr., Harvard Law School

Tour of the International Border
Tour of an Unaccompanied Minor Children's Camp
Las Colinas Women's Detention Reentry Facility Tour
Visit to an Indian Nation
The San Diego Family Justice Center

Click here to review the Schedule of Events.

Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.
Conference registration fees:
$595 for NAWJ Members
$525 for Members who are First-Time Attendees
$695 for Non-Members Judges
$575 Guest Rate (spouse and children of attendees)

Room Reservations: Click here or call (619) 239-2200.
NAWJ Rate: $219/night, plus applicable taxes, single or double occupancy

For more information contact:
Conference Chairs: Judge Tamila E. Ipema by email
Judge Margie G. Woods by email
Conference Manager: Mary Kathleen Todd by email

California's Women in Prison Committee
invites you support in buying a book for the
California Institution for Women
(Click here to view the Amazon Wishlist.)

This drive has already received three book contributions. Donors - please let us know who you are so we can recognize you!

Please support the Women in Prison Committee's book drive created in conjunction with the 2014 Annual Conference. This drive will benefit the library of the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Corona. CIW needs 50 copies of each title - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby; Bad Childhood-Good Life, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger; and Raw & Naked, But Good, by Moesha McCaffe. The book drive will continue through the end of the year to give every NAWJ member a chance to participate. Click here and take a moment to buy a book and support this drive. The Warden and Public Information would like to thank NAWJ for its support thus far. Its first book reading was a success, and there is a waiting list of female offenders wanting to sign up for the book club. Let us know if you have purchased a book to be sent to CIW, and we will recognize you on the San Diego Annual Conference web page.

Condemns the Kidnapping of the Nigerian Girls
(download the resolution here)

The IAWJ resolution below condemned the kidnapping of the Nigerian Girls. It passed by an overwhelming majority of the IAWJ delegates attending the IAWJ Biennial in Tanzania. The resolution was proposed by the North American region--the US and Canada with the leadership of NAWJ President Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, NAWJ International Director Hon. Ann Walsh Bradley, and the Hon. Lucy LaVigne, Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick, a Canadian representative, in consultation with the Nigerian delegation.


The IAWJ is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose members represent all levels of the judiciary worldwide and share a commitment to equal justice and the Rule of Law; and

IAWJ has over 4,000 members from over 100 countries in regions around the world; and

IAWJ pioneers judicial education programs that advance human rights, uproot gender bias from judicial systems, and promote women's access to the courts; and

IAWJ has worked to educate judges, courts and communities around the world to eliminate gender based violence against women and girls and to eliminate and address all forms of human trafficking; and

IAWJ collaborates with other organizations to raise awareness of issues of equal access to justice;


The IAWJ is outraged and deeply concerned by the kidnapping of the over 200 Nigerian school girls. This abominable and cowardly act is an affront to Justice and the Rule of Law and inconsistent with human rights.


IAWJ will continue to work tirelessly to eliminate gender based violence and to ensure that girls and women have equal access to justice and the right to pursue educational opportunities;


IAWJ will continue its work to demand justice so that the kidnappers of these Nigerian girls will be held accountable under the Rule of Law.


That focusing the attention of the world wide judiciary on this blatant violation of human rights and the Rule of Law is at the core of IAWJ's mission to work to ensure justice for all and to work to end gender based violence against women and girls.


We, the delegates in attendance at the 12th Biennial Conference of the IAWJ in Tanzania are unshakable in our resolve to end gender based violence and to educate and raise awareness of the rights to justice for all and the non-negotiable mandate that the Rule of Law prevail.

Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy

Former U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy, a legal pioneer who was the first female judge appointed to the federal court bench in Detroit, and the first woman to serve as Chief Judge of any U.S. District Court, died Monday, May 12 at her home in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. She was Founding Member of NAWJ, and a member until 2011. In 1986 she was recognized by NAWJ as its Honoree of the Year.

Read more from the Detroit local news here, and in the New York Times here.

NAWJ's 2016 IAWJ Biennial Conference Chairs Seek Volunteers to Serve on Planning
Committee for the Conference in Washington, D.C. May 26-29, 2016

Last month, NAWJ's 'IAWJ Biennial Selection Committee' announced the appointment of Judge Jane Spencer Craney (Morgan Superior Court, Indiana), and Senior Judge Carolyn Engel Temin (Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania, Retired) as Co-Chairs of IAWJ's 2016 Biennial Conference Planning Committee.

The conference will take place in Washington, D.C from May 26-29, 2016.

Anyone wishing to serve on the IAWJ Biennial Planning Committee may contact Marie Komisar at The Committee will work closely with the Biennial Advisory Council and NAWJ Executive Director Marie Komisar.

Women in the Law Conference
Federal Bar Association
July 11, 2014
Washington, D.C.

The Federal Bar Association's inaugural Women in the Law Conference will be held on Friday, July 11, 2014, at the George Washington University, Marvin Center in Washington, D.C. The inaugural conference will address the topic of women in the law broadly from both a historical perspective and how the law impacts women. In addition to a keynote address panel, topics include: History of Women in the Law, Development of Domestic Law as it Affects Women, and Breaking Barriers: The Glass Ceiling in the Legal Profession.

Click here to view list of keynote speakers and program panelist. Download the Conference brochure here.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)
to Host 77th Annual Conference in Chicago
July 13-16, 2014

The NCJFCJ's 77th Annual Conference, which is scheduled July 13-16, 2014 in Chicago, will feature a wide range of juvenile and family law topics including child abuse and neglect, trauma, custody and visitation, judicial leadership, juvenile justice, sex trafficking of minors, family violence, drug courts, psychotropic medications, children testifying in court, detention alternatives, substance abuse, and the adolescent brain. In addition, this year a pre-conference workshop, Special Consideration for Working with Adolescents with Substance Abuse Issues, designed for professionals working with juvenile justice involved youth who also have mental health, substance abuse, or trauma issues will be offered.

The Council is excited to welcome one of Time Magazine's "Time 100" honorees Withelma "T" Ortiz Walker Pettigrew as a co-speaker for our Keynote Address. Other select faculty includes Dolores Subia Bigfoot, Ph.D. from the Indian Country Child Trauma Center; Dr. Jordan Greenbaum of the Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta; Robert L. Listenbee, JD, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and Dr. Laurence Steinberg, Distinguished University Professor, and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University.

For additional information and to register for the conference, please click here.

'The Future of Fair Courts: 2014 Elections and Beyond'
A Justice at Stake Conference on Fair Courts and the State

July 28-30, 2014

FHI Conference Center • Washington, D.C.
(Click here to reach conference site.)

Topics of Discussion:
  • The growth of political pressure on our courts and judges.
  • Trends in judicial elections and special interest spending.
  • Best practices for dealing with legislative and ballot measures that would open courts to more big-money pressure.
  • Communications strategies for protecting a fair courts agenda.

Click for registration and general information.

A Judge's Perspective on a Fair and Impartial Judiciary, a program presented by the Informed Voters/Fair Judges Project will take place on June 9, 2014 at the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Click here for more information.

NAWJ's 36th Annual Conference will take place October 15-19, 2014 at Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, California.

NAWJ will hold its 2015 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference from April 23-24, 2015 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

NAWJ will hold its 37th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah from October 8-11, 2015.

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.

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