NAWJ Monthly Update March 2016

Written by National Association of Women Judges|March 01, 2016|Monthly Update Archive

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March 2016

In This Issue:

National Association of Women Judges
The Honorable Lisa Walsh
NAWJ President

Greetings from NAWJ.

The theme for this year's Women's History Month, "Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government" creates an opportunity to celebrate NAWJ's leadership in public service. Here are some highlights from NAWJ History of which we should be very proud.

• NAWJ Past President Judge Brenda Stith Loftin (Retired, St. Louis County Circuit Court) created and launched the first "Color of Justice" program in St. Louis, Missouri in August, 2001 to empower minority youth. Color of Justice programs provide opportunities for teenagers from underrepresented backgrounds to understand the judiciary and encourage them to consider careers in the legal professions.

Fourteen years later, Color of Justice is regularly presented by NAWJ members throughout the country. While Alaska has presented Color of Justice for many years, this year Native American students were flown in from remote places around Alaska to participate in this program. For coverage of Alaska's Color of Justice's outreach to the Native American community please click here. This year, Color of Justice will have been presented in New Orleans, Louisiana, New York City, Chula Vista and San Diego, California, Aventura, Florida, and Texas. We honor Judge Brenda Loftin's initiative and foresight in creating the Color of Justice.

• Under the leadership of Judge Cara Lee Neville, the 1992 NAWJ Conference in San Diego, California served as the inaugural conference of the International Association of Women Judges, a project spearheaded by Judge Arline Pacht. Now, more than 24 years after its founding, IAWJ has grown to over 4,000 members from 100 countries and territories worldwide. In less than three months, on May 26-29, 2016, NAWJ will welcome hundreds of judges from around the world as host of IAWJ's 13th Biennial Conference. Every month, we have emphasized the importance of a strong showing of NAWJ members at the Biennial. Given the historical significance that NAWJ members founded IAWJ, we are excited to host this IAWJ Biennial for the first time in 25 years, and we welcome a large international contingent of our sister judges. We must celebrate IAWJ's achievement in strong numbers. To register for the conference, please click here.

• When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the Court in August 1993, NAWJ gifted both Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with two shirts emblazoned with "The Supremes" on the front and "I AM RUTH, NOT SANDRA", and "I AM SANDRA, NOT RUTH", on the back.

• Judge Brenda Murray was NAWJ President when NAWJ was approached about supporting the Violence Against Women Act. At first, NAWJ was hesitant to become involved in the political aspects of the bill. However, Judge Murray realized that perhaps NAWJ needed to take a position after receiving some words of wisdom from her mother. She recalls, "I was at home with my mother, and I was telling her about some of the issues we had. She said, 'Is this legislation good for women?' I said, 'Yes'. She said, 'Then, I don't understand why your organization isn't for it.' My mother made a lot of sense." At the board meeting soon after, Judge Betty Ellerin made it clear that she would not leave that meeting if NAWJ decided not to support VAWA. Ultimately, with NAWJ's support, the bill was passed.

• During Judge Cindy Lederman's presidency, NAWJ visited the White House to thank President Bill Clinton for the diversity of his judicial appointments.

Indeed, NAWJ should be very proud of its many accomplishments. Past President Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby is busy working on the updated NAWJ History Book chronicling these and many more events in NAWJ's history.

The question remains how NAWJ will continue to blaze trails, now and going forward, to stay true to its mission and commitment.

Here are this month's updates:

Letter to President Barack Obama on Upcoming Appointment

In the wake of the passing of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, NAWJ encourages our President appoint a Supreme Court Justice who would make the Court democratically reflective of the American people. Click here to read my letter to the President.

Seattle 2016 Annual Conference: Faces of Justice

Hurry to take advantage of the limited opportunity to register for the Annual Conference at a reduced rate. Early bird registration for $525 expires on March 31, 2016. The extended early bird registration for $550 expires on May 31, 2016. Thereafter, registration for members will cost $595. To register for the Seattle Conference please click here. The Conference Committee, led by Justice Susan Owens, has completed its educational program, which will broaden NAWJ's educational focus in a number of areas. Educational programs include sexual violence on campuses, challenges of aging and elder law, imposing monetary sanctions on indigent defendants, judicial ethics and human trafficking cases, and sessions on incarcerated voices and community supervision of female offenders.

Atlanta 2017 Annual Conference

The Atlanta Conference, led by Co-Chairs Justice Carol Hunstein and Judge Sara Doyle, has already begun meetings and planning. For more information or to become involved, please contact Justice Hunstein or Judge Doyle.

San Antonio 2018 Annual Conference

Our 2018 Annual Conference in San Antonio is in its initial stages. We have contracted with the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Antonio. Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming events.


Our Website Project Manager, Judge Karen Donohue has been working daily with Efelle in developing our website. The new site will complete its content production phase soon.

Future Funding Strategies and Sustainability Committee

To begin to tackle how to ensure our sustainability as an organization, NAWJ has convened the "Sustainability Committee," chaired by Past President Judge Amy Nechtem. We are gathering information from experts in the field of nonprofit management, from other nonprofits, and seeking ways to increase annual income, better manage our budget, and responsibly manage our assets in order to achieve our goal of sustainability.

NAWJ Staff and Infrastructure

Marie Komisar and her staff tirelessly work to streamline the management of NAWJ and to develop its funding stream. In particular, Marie Komisar has had a stellar month focusing upon raising funds for the Biennial Conference. Together with Mary-Kathleen Todd, Lavinia Cousin, Sharon de Castro and the many support vendors of NAWJ, she leads a team of hard working dedicated women and men to move NAWJ toward a strong and positive future.

Have a wonderful March. Please register for the Biennial May 26-29, 2016, and take advantage of the early bird registration for the Seattle Annual Conference as well. Our best work occurs not only in our districts where we present NAWJ programs, but also at a national level where we share our vision and share each other's strengths and ideas. I look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely yours,

Lisa Walsh
President, NAWJ
11th Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade, Florida

January 30 - February 3 - Attended Conference of Chief Justices in Monterrey, California

February 3-6 - Attended ABA Midyear Meeting Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, California

March 11-12, 2016 - American Civil Roundtable Washington, D.C.

April 7-8 - ABA Business Section Panel "Opportunity and Obligation: Judicial Appointments of Counsel as Receivers, Trustees, Special Masters or Members Boards and Commissions - Pointers and Pitfalls" together with Past-President Anna Blackburne-Rigsby

IAWJ's 13th Biennial International Conference
"Women Judges and the Rule of Law: Assessing the Past, Anticipating the Future"
Hosted by the National Association of Women Judges
Washington DC, USA
May 26-29, 2016

(Click here)

$895 for IAWJ Members* ($850 Early bird rate until December 31, 2015)
$500 Guest Rate I and $250 Guest Rate II
More information and registration here:

Omni Shoreham Hotel (202) 234-0700 • Conference Rate: $189/night, plus 14.5% tax

For More Information Contact:
Conference Chairs: Hon. Carolyn Temin at, or Hon. Jane Craney at

"Faces of Justice"
NAWJ 38th Annual Conference - October 5-9, 2016
The Sheraton Seattle Hotel • 1400 6th Ave. • Seattle, WA

Justice Susan Owens, Washington Supreme Court

Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, Washington Supreme Court
Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, Washington Supreme Court
Justice Sheryl G. McCloud, Washington Supreme Court
Justice Debra Stephens, Washington Supreme Court

Judge Karen Donohue, Seattle Municipal Court
Judge Maggie Ross, Pierce County District Court

Ellen Conedera Dial, Esq., Perkins Coie
Nancy Isserlis, Esq.


The Shearing Family Trust

Akerman Senterfitt • Charles Cheever • CourtCall, LLC • LexisNexis • Pfizer • The New York Community Trust - Robert M. Kaufman Fund • Thomson Reuters

The Clorox Company a Welcome Reception Sponsor • Walmart a Keynote Lunch Sponsor

Arnold & Porter • Latham Watkins • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP • Sullivan & Cromwell

Beveridge & Diamond • Chapman and Cutler LLP a Breakfast Sponsor • Damian & Valori LLP

$525 for Members who are First-Time Attendees
$595 for NAWJ Members: $525 rate until March 26, 2016, $550 rate until May 31, 2016
$695 for Non-Member Attendees
$575 for Spouse and Children of Attendees: $525 rate until March 26, 2016

Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.

The conference host hotel is the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. Call (888) 627-7057 • NAWJ Rate: $229/night, plus applicable taxes, single or double occupancy.

For More Information Contact:
Conference Manager: Mary Kathleen Todd at

Administrative Law Judges Examination

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management will soon post a job opportunity announcement to accept applications to take the ALJ examination in order to replenish the existing ALG register. Download more information here.

Winter 2016 Counterbalance Newsletter
Calls for Submissions for the Next Issue of Counterbalance
Deadline: April 23, 2016

Counterbalance informs and connects our members around the country by featuring articles, information and highlights NAWJ's activities around the country. Share news from your jurisdiction with fellow members in the newsletter. If you know of women judges in your state who have been recently elected, appointed, promoted or honored, let us know. If you have articles, announcements, book reviews, or events that you would like included in Counterbalance, please pass them along as well. NAWJ will also publish essays and articles of interest which are in accord with our mission.

Download the winter issue here, and it will reach your mailboxes over the next four weeks.

Anybody can share news in Counterbalance. The deadline for submitting information for the next issue of Counterbalance is APRIL 23, 2016. Look for the spring issue later in the summer. Those interested in submitting material should do so by emailing all text and picture files to Lavinia Cousin at Please also copy Judge Beverly Cutler at

Judicial Symposium on the Economics and Law
of Public Pension Reform
March 20 to 22, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina

Program Description
The Judicial Symposium on the Economics and Law of Public Pension Reform will discuss the looming financial and structural crisis facing state pensions systems across the nation. With several dozen states adopting modest to major reforms, the economic impact on plan beneficiaries will be substantial, and at least twenty-five jurisdictions are facing lawsuits due to the reforms adopted.

This symposium will comprehensively outline the underlying structure of pension systems, address the differences between public and private pensions, and detail the unfunded liabilities and potential bankruptcy issues arising from this crisis. It also will discuss the legal challenges to reform efforts under state constitutions citing both the contracts clause and the takings clause. The symposium is structured to allow ample time for participant dialogue with speakers and panelists.

Click here to visit the Symposium's webpage.

For more information, contact: Mason Judicial Education Program, 703.993.8008,

Landmark Sponsor GEICO

Part of NAWJ and GEICO's partnership provides insurance discounts to NAWJ members. Contact GEICO for a free quote on auto insurance to see how much you could be saving. And, don't forget to mention your NAWJ affiliation; you could qualify for an exclusive member savings opportunity. Visit (special portal here) or call 1-800-368-2734 for your free rate quote. GEICO can also help you find great rates on homeowners, renters, motorcycle insurance, and more.

Calendar of Programs and Events

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.

NAWJ 37th Annual Conference will take place in Seattle, Washington from October 5-9, 2016 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

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