In This Issue:
| PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE; PRESIDENT'S CALENDAR
February and March are significant months in bringing to the forefront the importance of addressing issues of equality in our ongoing national conversation. They are the months designated to observe, remind and educate us about Black History (February) and Women's History (March) in our country. We both pay tribute to significant accomplishments, and honor pioneers and those who dedicated their lives in an effort to realize equality, and at the same time express acute frustration bordering on outrage at that which remains the same. It is at this time we take particular note of the recent fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and of the March on Selma, and of the sixtieth anniversary of the landmark desegregation case, Brown v. The Board of Education. It is the time we pause to take note that three of the nine members of the U.S Supreme Court are women, including the first Latina Associate Justice. It is these ongoing moments of taking stock that underscore the importance of the NAWJ's mission-driven goals to further justice for all, which is at the foundation of this year's theme - Voices of Justice: Keeping the Promise of the Rule of Law through Enhancing Diverse Judicial Leadership. It is these very topics that dominate our upcoming NAWJ Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference in Chicago at the historic Palmer House Hotel, April 23-25.
While attending the Commission on Women meeting at the ABA midyear last month, along with our former presidents and NAWJ representatives, Nan Duffly and Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, I once again witnessed the vehement call to action to end discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, and condemnation of human trafficking by former ABA president, Laurel Bellows. We are privileged to have Laurel, a longstanding ardent advocate for women's rights, as our Chicago conference opening keynote luncheon speaker on April 23rd. Additionally, the milestone work of researching, collating and analyzing the current status of women in the legal profession by another lead NAWJ conference presenter, attorney Stephanie Scharf, was repeatedly referenced by this august gathering of national women leaders.
The 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote was quietly signed into law in 1920, after fifty-two years of an unrelenting campaign of meetings, marches and repeated attempts at state ratifications, using the same draft by Susan B. Anthony that had been first introduced in 1878. The first woman to sit on a State Supreme Court was Florence Ellenwood Allen in Ohio in 1923. Born the following year in 1924 was NAWJ's pioneer, the Hon. Joan Dempsey Klein, who gathered together with her African American colleague, the Hon. Vaino Spencer, a hundred 'intrepid' women to found the National Association of Women Judges.
Cheryl Brown Henderson, the daughter of Oliver Brown - the plaintiff in Brown v The Board of Education, and the director of the Brown Foundation, is the Chicago conference keynote on Friday, April 24th. Ms. Henderson will address issues of poverty, education and race in our country, incorporating the past with ongoing present day challenges, including overrepresentation and other significant concerns in our criminal justice system, and will be a catalyst for confronting the difficult issues that lay endlessly in our future as a society and country. Later, panel presentations on Access to Justice through Diverse Leadership and Restorative Justice will continue these discussions and exchanges with attendees.
A glimpse into where we have come and how far we have yet to go on issues of gender and racial equality was provided when I was invited as the NAWJ President to attend the annual meeting in January of the Conference of Chief Justices. I was pleased to note that 19 of the 50 states and D.C. have a woman Chief Justice, many of whom are active committee chairs including our former president, Hon. Dana Fabe and former board officer Hon. Barbara Madsen. At the same time, I continue to be extremely concerned about the tactics that are being utilized to unseat a number of our leading jurists, clearly motivated by other than the assessment of judicial qualifications. I was privileged to spend time with the exceptionally wise Hon. Shirley Abrahamson, Wisconsin's first woman Chief Justice who, after nearly forty years on the court, and almost twenty years as Chief Justice, is witnessing a movement fueled in part by outside donations to amend her state's constitution as to how the chief justice is determined.
Another remarkable judicial leader I had the honor of getting to know far better at the CCJ conference is the Hon. Bernette Joshua Johnson. No more evident is the challenge of assuming the position rightfully earned in this 21st century than the contentious battle which worked its way through the courts last year in order for this very well respected appellate judge to be named Louisiana's Chief Justice, becoming the first black woman chief in Louisiana, almost a decade after the 2005 ascension in Georgia of the nation's first black woman jurist to the position of a state Chief Justice.
As evidenced by the struggles that these and other accomplished women Chiefs have endured to obtain or retain their positions, the struggle for equality and merit-based recognition for women of all backgrounds is far from over, and we may in fact be confronting familiar challenges of days gone by resurrected in a more sophisticated approach. It is all our responsibility to commit to work against this turning tide - and that is a primary reason NAWJ continues to exist and be an active and strong voice, together with our numerous justice partners
Judge Julie E. Frantz
January 14: Met in Salt Lake City with members of the Judiciary and local Bar to do a NAWJ presentation and interact with this stellar group regarding the 'Kickoff' for the October, 2015 Annual Conference in Utah;
January 24 -27: Attended the Conference of Chief Justices in San Antonio, Texas: Ensured during the social gatherings and while participating in the substantive sessions that all became acquainted with NAWJ, its mission, committees, projects, conferences and opportunities to join; - also squeezed in a fine Mexican dinner with former President Chief Justice Dana Fabe;
February 5-7: Attended the midyear ABA conference in Houston Texas - attended the Commission on Women, National State Court Judges meeting, Spirit of Excellence Award Luncheon, among other offerings;
April 15 - 17: Attending the Women's Power Summit on Law and Leadership in Austin Texas;
April 22-25: NAWJ Chicago Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference.
| Women in Prison Committee to Testify at Congressional Taskforce
Hearing, Meet with Bureau of Prisons Personnel
The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections will hold a public meeting in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 to hear public testimony on:
NAWJ's Women in Prison (WiP) Committee testimony may be read here. One of its partners, Professor Judith Resnik and the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program's testimony may be found here. Members of the WiP Committee plan to meet informally on Friday, March 6 with Bureau of Prisons personnel Linda McGrew, Assistant Director; Alix McLearen, Administrator, Female Offender Branch; Kathy Kenney, General Counsel; and Judi Garrett, Communications Director.
As has been previously shared in past Updates, the WiP Committee has been fighting to improve the conditions of women in prison, and seek to establish a national agenda. Their most recent efforts are focused on women who were stationed at a federal facility in Danbury. Read more about their conditions in Liman's report here
The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections was established by Congressional mandate, and is a nine-person, bipartisan, blue ribbon panel charged with examining challenges in the federal corrections system and developing practical, data-driven policy responses. If you have any questions, please contact NAWJ's Women in Prison Co-Chair Brenda Murray at email@example.com. The Urban Institute and its partner, the Center for Effective Public Policy, are providing research, analysis, strategic guidance, and logistical support to the Charles Colson Task Force through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
- the impact of current federal prosecution, sentencing, release, and supervision policies and practices, and suggestions for reform;
- the consequences of the current size of the federal prison population and its associated costs, and options to reduce the population and/or avert further growth;
- the nature and impact of overcrowding in Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities and proposed measures to address its consequences; and
- the status of current BOP risk and needs assessment practices, substance abuse treatment, and rehabilitation and employment programs, and opportunities for improvement.
| NPR Airs Segment Raising NAWJ's Work on Women in Prison
Supporters Say Imprisoned Nun Is Being Held In 'Unfair' Conditions
(Click here to hear segment, or read text below.)
Megan Rice celebrated her 85th birthday last week - in a high-rise detention center in Brooklyn. The Catholic nun is serving nearly three years in prison for evading security and painting peace slogans on the walls of a nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Sister Rice is far from the only religious figure to run into legal trouble. There's a long tradition of Catholic clergy protesting nuclear weapons, from the Berrigan brothers in the 1980s to the fictional nun Jane Ingalls, featured in the series Orange is the New Black.
(Photo caption: Sister Megan Rice ahead of her 2013 trial in Washington, D.C. In 2012, she and fellow anti-nuclear activists successfully broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to draw the world's attention to the danger of nuclear weapons.)
Sister Rice, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, spent decades working and teaching in Africa. She too has a long history of protest, even before she allegedly joined two men to throw human blood and write slogans on a building that houses enriched uranium in 2012.
Now, from inside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, Sister Rice is continuing her own brand of activism. With the help of friends and advocates including the National Association of Women Judges, Sister Rice is drawing attention to conditions inside U.S. corrections facilities.
She and a few hundred others had been set to live in a women's prison in Danbury, Connecticut, the same one that served as a model for Orange is the New Black. After authorities decided to overhaul that facility, the Catholic nun was sent to what was supposed to be a temporary holding center.
Hon. Brenda Murray, a federal administrative law judge, has been closely following Sister Rice's case because one of her friends entered the convent at the same time.
"It seems ridiculous to put somebody like that long term on the ninth floor of a high-rise building," Murray says. "I mean, that was supposed to be a temporary situation 'til we resolved Danbury, and it isn't been temporary. And it just is unfair."
A high rise might sound luxurious. But in this case, friends say, more than 100 women share six bathrooms.
A study by the Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School says the detention center in Brooklyn has much less to offer than the one in Connecticut.
Pat McSweeney, a retired ninth-grade English teacher, knows that firsthand. McSweeney befriended Sister Rice years ago at a protest. She describes the Brooklyn holding center as "like a big cement box, huge." McSweeney visits when she can, and keeps in touch by phone or e-mail. "When I've asked her a couple of times if she can go outside, no she can't," McSweeney says.
Sister Rice insists she's fine, but friends say conditions in the Brooklyn facility are taking a toll on her. For one thing, the cap came off her front tooth months ago. "There was a long time when she was carrying the cap around in her pocket," McSweeney says, "and then I think she did see someone and it was on, when her niece from Boston visited her, but it must have come off again."
Things are even more complicated when it comes to women's health care behind bars. That's because advocates say every facet of the Bureau of Prisons system was designed for men, even though women are very different. "The majority, the vast majority of women in federal prisons, are not violent offenders," says retired federal appeals court judge Hon. Pat Wald. Judge Wald says research demonstrates that incarcerated women need time with family members and friends, and special programs to help them get ready to leave prison. She says those are programs that seem to be unavailable for Sister Rice and others locked up in the Brooklyn facility.
Yale Law School Professor Judith Resnik has been studying prisons for more than 30 years. She says the best solution is for authorities to look, case by case, at the inmates holed up in Brooklyn.
"A national review of those incarcerated with the end state of asking who need not be here or who could be in a less secure facility would be the desired end state," Resnik says. For Megan Rice, that question could be moot by November. That's when the Bureau of Prisons web site says she's scheduled for release.
| The International Association of Women Judges
is seeking applicants for the position of Executive Director
The International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) is a non-profit, non-government, non-partisan organization of more than 4,000 members at all judicial levels in more than 80 nations. Since forming in 1991, IAWJ has brought together women judges from diverse legal-judicial systems to share knowledge through judicial training programs and international collaboration on a range of topics related to the rule of law, access to justice, the independence of the judiciary, equal justice and human rights, especially the rights of women. IAWJ seeks to be an international leader and source of information for its members and others on human rights, particularly judicial issues and decisions, and the rights of women and girls.
We are looking for a professional Executive Director with:
• Commitment to the mission and values of IAWJ,
• Proven fundraising ability, from grantmaking institutions, governments, and individuals and ability to identify and develop relationships with key donors,
• Management and program experience,
• Ability to operate in cross-cultural and multilingual international settings,
• Legal background and language abilities (English required) preferred.
Download the full job description here. For additional information please visit the IAWJ website www.iawj.org.
| Voices of Justice:
Keeping the Promise of the Rule of Law by Enhancing Judicial Diversity
NAWJ Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference
April 23-25, 2015 • Chicago, Illinois
Palmer House Hilton Hotel
Download the brochure here and share with friends.
Judge Julie Frantz
Local Planning Committee
Judge Ann Breen-Greco (Chair) • Judge Joy Airaudi • Judge Helaine Berger • Judge Cheryl Cesario
• Judge Margaret Fitzpatrick • Judge Renee Goldfarb • Judge Sophia H. Hall • Judge Pam Meyerson •
Judge Patricia Ball Reed • Judge Dominique Ross • Judge Audrey Wade
Conference Honorary Host Committee
Justice Anne Burke • Judge Virginia Kendall • Judge Joan Lefkowitz • Diane Wood
(Check back here
for more detail.)
THURSDAY, APRIL 23
Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Laurel G. Bellows
Gang Involvement in Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking: What Judges Can Do
The Nuts and Bolts of NAWJ's "Informed Voters, Fair Judges" Project:
A Discussion on how to Educate Voters About the Importance of a Fair and Impartial Judiciary
Reception at Jenner & Block
FRIDAY, APRIL 24
NAWJ Resource Board Meeting
Breakfast with Guest Speaker Judge Ruben Castillo
Women in the Legal Profession
Access to Justice Through Diverse Leadership: Appointing Women to Board and Commissions
Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Cheryl Brown Henderson
Restorative Justice: Judges Working with the Community to Heal Injustice
Architectural Riverboat Tour
SATURDAY, APRIL 25
District Directors Breakfast Meeting
NAWJ Board of Directors Meeting
CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FEES:
$425 for NAWJ Members ($375 Early bird rate until February 13)
$525 for Non-Member Attendees ($475 Early bird rate until February 13)
$325 Guest Rate (spouse and children of attendees)
Register online here
, or download and fax this registration form.
ROOM RESERVATIONS: Click here or call (877) 865-5321
$195(1 bathroom) or $215 (2 bathroom)/night, plus applicable taxes.
| With Liberty and Justice for All
NAWJ 37th Annual Conference
October 7-11, 2015 • Salt Lake City, Utah
Grand America Hotel
Hon. Michele Christiansen, Utah Court of Appeals
Hon. Sharon McCully (Retired), 3rd District Juvenile Court
EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Peggy Hunt, Esq., Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Hon. Sandra Peuler, Third District Court, Utah
Hon. Kate Toomey, Utah Court of Appeals
FRIENDS COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Tammy G. Georgelas, Esq., Snow Christensen & Martineau
Margaret N. McGann, Esq., Parsons Behle & Latimer
Same Sex Marriage
Impact of Media/Social Media on Criminal on High Profile Cases
Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline
Evidentiary Issues with Magnetic Images of the Brain
Judge Susan Carbon
How Intuition Misleads Judges
50 Years after In Re Gault
(Conference begins approximately 5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 7 with a Welcome Reception, and will run
through until a Farewell Breakfast on Sunday, October 11. Check back here
CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FEES:
$525 for Members who are First-Time Attendees
$595 for NAWJ Members ($550 Earlybird rate until April 25, 2015)
$695 for Non-Member Attendees
$575 Guest Rate for Spouse and Children of Attendees ($550 Earlybird rate until April 25, 2015)
Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.
Call (800) 304-8696 • NAWJ Rate: $189/night, plus applicable taxes
For More Information Contact:
Hon. Michele Christiansen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Sharon McCully at email@example.com
Conference Manager: Mary Kathleen Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org
| Landmark Sponsor GEICO
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| Calendar of Programs and Events
District Two hosts Janet Langhart Cohen's one act play Anne & Emmett at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City on March 5, 2015.
NAWJ New York and the New York Women's Bar Association will hold a MentorJet networking session at New York University on March 9, 2015.
NAWJ President-Elect Judge Lisa Walsh, along with Akerman LLP will host a panel discussion Judicial Appointments of Counsel: Developing Diverse Leadership in the Law on March 11 at 6:00 pm in Miami.
NAWJ New York will present an Outreach Panel at Cornell Law School on March 19 in The Student Lounge at Cornell Law School in Ithaca.
White and Case LLP will present Color of Justice to the Washington Middle School of or Girls in its Washington, D.C. law offices on March 25, 2015.
San Diego's 5th Annual Color of Justice program will take place April 17 in the Hall of Justice.
NAWJ will hold its 2015 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference from April 23-24, 2015 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.
The California Women Lawyers and Queen's Bench will present a Color of Justice program in San Francisco on April 29 for high school students.
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 in Washington D.C. from May 26-29, 2016.