NAWJ Monthly Update September 2014

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

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September 2014

In This Issue:

Dear Members and Friends!

NAWJ continues to fulfill its mission and remains a vital voice in "Ensuring Access to Justice for All". On September 9, 2014, I had the honor of representing NAWJ at the Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was held at the National Archives and followed later that evening by a reception at the Vice-President's home. Vice-President Joseph Biden, who led the effort to pass the VAWA legislation, spoke passionately about this vitally important and transformative legislation. I was especially pleased and excited that the Vice-President publically recognized NAWJ's pivotal role in the passage of the original legislation and NAWJ's ongoing commitment to the issue. VAWA has ensured meaningful access to justice for victims of domestic violence and transformed the way courts and law enforcement agencies address these cases.

As we watch the news of conflict around the world, and right here at home in Ferguson, Missouri, I am mindful of the critically important role that fair, open, and independent courts play in a democratic society. It is vitally important for our citizens to trust that our courts will provide meaningful access to justice for all without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, national origin or sexual orientation. At our Midyear Conference in March, attendees were treated to a viewing of the play "Anne & Emmett", which depicted Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl killed during the Holocaust, and Emmett Till, a young African-American boy killed in the South during the Jim Crow era. The play was followed by a panel of experts, who led an important discussion about raising awareness of the actual and unconscious or implicit biases that everyone harbors, and the importance of confronting these implicit biases to ensure that they do not stand in the way of our responsibility to ensure justice for all. The author of the play, Emmy-nominated journalist, Janet Langhart Cohen, has taken her play, and the important lessons it teaches, to the St. Louis, Missouri school system. Continuing NAWJ's collaboration with the playwright, several NAWJ chapters have sought to bring this play and dialog about implicit bias in the administration of justice to their jurisdictions.

September 17th is Constitution Day, a day that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution, as well as those who have become U.S. citizens. I wish to thank NAWJ's Informed Voters Project (IVP), and our District Directors for sponsoring events around the country to celebrate Constitution Day and to highlight the important role of the judiciary in our democracy. Many of the Constitution Day celebrations will showcase the IVP film "Fair and Free", which features Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Finally, I hope that you will plan to attend NAWJ's Annual Conference in San Diego, California from October 15-19, 2014. It promises to be substantive, engaging and fun! I look forward to seeing you there!

Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby

Informed Voters Fair Judges Celebrate Constitution Day
with New Public Service Announcement Campaign

In honor of Constitution Day, September 17, the National Association of Women Judges' Informed Voters Fair Judges Project is proud to announce the launch of a new public service announcement campaign designed to raise awareness about the need for fair and free courts. The TV and radio spots, featuring retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, remind us all that politics and partisanship have no place in our courts.

Get involved, and ask your local television or radio station to run the PSA. You can call the station and ask for either the promotion director or the traffic director. Listen to the radio spot here, and send them this high definition link for consideration for television stations.

You may also wish to modify and use this press release to spread the news to your local print media. NAWJ's Informed Voters Fair Judges Project is a non-partisan voter education project developed to increase public awareness about the judicial system, to inform voters that politics and special interest attacks have no place in the courts, and to give voters the tools they need to exercise an informed vote in favor of fair and impartial courts. Details can be found at

PSAs are available for viewing and use by broadcast entities:

Radio PSA:

U.S. Senators Join Yale Law's Liman Program, NAWJ
Women in Prison Committee to Hold BOP to Account on
Promises to Accommodate Women at Danbury

On September 3, 2014 eleven U.S. Senators wrote to Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. raising concerns about BOP's plan to change the use of the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury, Connecticut from a women-only facility to a facility devoted primarily to men. On November 6, 2013, Director Samuels called the Women in Prison Committee and informed NAWJ that there would continue to be a 200-bed secured facility at Danbury with all existing services and program; a new 50-bed facility in Brooklyn, New York; and a committee of wardens to advise on best practices for treating women.

The letter follows the Senators' press release, and may be read here.

Questions are surfacing due to the lack of progress in keeping federal space in the northeast. In 2012, while following the conditions of women in prison, NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee learned of BOP's request for operating funds to create a new large women's prison in Aliceville, Alabama. The proposed isolated location would mean family visits would be very difficult for inmates outside of the region.

"Dislocation and Relocation: Women in the Federal Prison System and Repurposing FCI Danbury for Men," a report by Yale Law School Professor Judith Resnik and the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program details the important role that the Danbury facility plays in serving incarcerated women (and their families) who reside in the Northeast, and the benefits of services that promote successful re-entry back to their communities.

NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee is following-up the letter to BOP Director Samuels by making the case to more members of Congress, BOP administrators who oversee women offenders, and the Deputy Attorney General's Office.

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

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 J. Ogletree, Jr., Harvard Law School

Tour of an Unaccompanied Minor Children's Camp
Las Colinas Women's Detention Reentry Facility Tour

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 Attendees
$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 your participation in a book drive for the
California Institution for Women
(Click here to view the Amazon Wishlist.)

NAWJ invites your support for this Women in Prison Committee book drive created in conjunction with the 2014 Annual Conference. The 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 women 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.

A shout out to California Superior Court Judge Jamoa Moberly, for her donation to the book drive. Don't forget - if you buy a book let us know who you are.

NAWJ Nominating Committee
Announces Slate for NAWJ Officer Positions for 2014-2015

In accordance with the NAWJ Bylaws, the Nominating Committee presents the following Nomination Slate
for the 2014-2015 Board of Directors:

(Automatically assumes office)
Hon. Julie E. Frantz
Multnomah County Circuit Court
Portland, Oregon

Hon. Lisa S. Walsh
Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit
Miami, Florida

Vice President, Districts
Hon. Ann Breen-Greco
Illinois State Board of Education
Chicago, Illinois

Vice President, Publications
Hon. Diana Becton
Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Martinez, California

Hon. Ariane Vuono
Massachusetts Appeals Court
Boston, Massachusetts

Hon. Beverly Cutler
Third Judicial District
Palmer, Alaska

ABA Delegate
Hon. Stephanie Domitrovitch
Sixth Judicial District
Erie, Pennsylvania

Judge Joan Churchill, United States Immigration Court for Arlington, Virginia (Retired), 5612 Western Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Tel: (301) 656-8629

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)

Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit
Sponsored by the ABA Judicial Division Appellate Judges Conference
Featuring Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Professor Bryan A. Garner,
and Erin Moriarty, CBS News 48 Hours Correspondent
November 13-16, 2014
Dallas, Texas

Co-hosted by the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, the Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI) Summit brings together state and federal appellate judges, lawyers, and staff attorneys from all across the country for a practical, yet cutting-edge, continuing legal education program. Presenters include leading practitioners from private and government practice, outstanding law professors, and experienced judges and court attorneys. The four-day format also affords numerous opportunities for networking among participants.

AJEI has obtained affordably priced rooms at the Dallas Marriott City Center, just steps away from the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation. Registration fees include one dinner, three continental breakfasts, and two lunches, as well admission to the Opening Reception at the world-renowned Winspear Opera House, making the 2014 Summit an exceptional CLE value! Conference materials and speaker biographies will be available to registrants online prior to the Summit and will also be distributed at the Summit via USB drive.

Download conference brochure here. Registration Questions: Contact Lynn Moubry by email at, by phone at (214) 768-2761, or by fax at (214) 768-4688. Additional questions:

Therrell High School Celebrates Constitution Day
with the Atlanta Bar and NAWJ

On September 9, 2014, in conjunction with the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) and the Judicial Section of the Atlanta Bar, Therrell High School hosted a Constitution Day program featuring panelists: Court of Appeal's Presiding Judge, Sara L. Doyle, attorney Sara E. Galloway, and officer Allen Johnson, Program Director of Save Our Students Academy, Inc.

After a short welcome and introduction by Principal Shelly H. Powell, the program kicked off with Judge Doyle providing an overview of the Constitution and its Amendments followed by a viewing of NAWJ's Fair and Free video with commentary by retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Sara Galloway then led a short quiz session where students earned gold coin chocolates for correctly answering questions about the Constitution, and Officer Johnson spoke to the students about real-world applications of the 1st, 4th and 6th Amendments.

The program ended with an overview of the judicial system and students participating in a short appellate argument. All students were provided NAWJ's flyers: "What Voters Need to Know" and "Informed Voters Fair Judges," and Georgia's Administrative Office of the Courts' poster: "Georgia's Court System" to take with them.

The program was a great success due to the fine coordination by Sharifah D. Lee, an attorney who teaches at Therrell High School, and the help of the student council, who hosted a reception for the panelists prior to the program.

Save the Date!
IAWJ 13th Biennial Conference
May 26-30, 2016
Washington, D.C. USA

The National Association of Women Judges is proud to host the
2016 IAWJ Biennial Conference in Washington, D.C.

Women Judges and the Rule of Law: Assessing the Past, Anticipating the Future


New Address:
National Association of Women Judges
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone: (202) 393-0222 • Fax: (202) 393-0125

Calendar of Programs and Events

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 in Washington D.C. from May 26-29, 2016.

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