Like it or not, life is a whirlwind of change. Our society moves at a pace that far exceeds any other time in history and change is a reality we face each day. Change can be a very positive thing when it is implemented effectively, efficiently, and with encouragement. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen as often as it could or should. But regardless of how change is implemented; regardless of how we feel about it – change is here to stay.
For my first written communication with the members of NASJE, I wanted to address a reality I think many of us know deep within, but rarely stop and give it the consideration it deserves. I want to talk about being a judicial educator. More to the point, I want to share my thoughts on what a special profession we are a part of. In Austin I talked with the Fundamentals class about these topics. I wanted to extend my observations to a broader audience.
Independence Corrupted goes behind the trial bench and even into appellate chambers to dissect judicial decision-making in actual cases I judged – for ten years, alone, as a trial judge; for twelve years, with colleagues, as an appellate judge. The cases are page-turners, fascinating courtroom conflicts involving abortion protesters, abused children, murderers, sex predators, civil rights, health insurance, the insanity defense, multi-million dollar punitive damages, and more.
I’m not sure why I’m drawn so often to implicit bias sessions, but I seem to gravitate to them often at conferences. I found the recent NASJE Annual Conference session on the topic, taught by NASJE members Dana Bartocci of Minnesota, Cyrana Mott of Illinois, Jennifer Juhler of Iowa, and Joseph Sawyer of the National Judicial College, to be very impactful. What follows is my personal reaction to the session. I won’t try to recreate the entire session or to re-teach it but just highlight the parts that touched me and continue to stay with me.
At the recent 2018 NASJE Annual Conference in Austin, Judge Edward Spillane delivered a session on the humanity of litigants. Judge Spillane is the Presiding Judge for the College Station Municipal Court in Texas. He started his session by explaining that change in a court’s treatment of litigant too often occurs as a result of an unexpected, often catastrophic, series of events such as those in Ferguson, Missouri.
Download NASJE 2018 ANNUAL CONFERENCE, the new NASJE conference app for your mobile device. See the Member Area for details.
When the clock hits 5 on the first day of the Annual Conference in Austin, don’t forget to stop by your Regional Meeting before mixing it up at the evening social. Members of the four NASJE Regions gather each year to strengthen the networks in their region and share resources. The four regions are the Midwestern, Northeastern, Southeastern and Western.
Christine Christopherson has been named Director of Nebraska Judicial Branch Education, a position that oversees the coordination and delivery of educational offerings for all Judicial Branch employees and judges throughout the state. Read more about it at the Nebraska Supreme…
Judge Ed Spillane will be presenting a class on The Humanity of Litigants at the 2018 NASJE Annual Conference. Spillane is the Presiding Municipal Judge for College Station, a position he has held since May 2002. Judge Spillane received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is an active leader in the Texas judiciary, currently representing Texas municipal courts as a member of the Texas Judicial Council, the policy-making body for the state judiciary.
As we move closer to the 2018 NASJE Conference in Austin, I want to share a little a Texas history. The conference hotel – The Hotel Van Zandt – is named after the Van Zandt family – specifically Isaac Van Zandt, an early Texas politician, and his great-great-grandson Townes Van Zandt, a singer songwriter with a long history of addiction and mental health issues.
The 2018 NASJE Austin conference’s theme is Developing Educational Leaders for Today’s Courts and Beyond and our closing plenary session on Wednesday, August 29, will focus on our individual leadership skills as judicial educators. Karen Walrond, a sought-out keynote speaker on topics such as self-empowerment, creativity and innovation, will present Individuality, Courage and Values: The Foundations of Leadership. The course will cover how courage is the prerequisite and amplifier of all leadership development and culture change work and the role that vulnerability and inclusion play in creating a culture of innovation.
If there is any concept that judicial educators can understand, it is the idea of power inequity. We spend much of our time trying to influence powerful people over whom we have very little authority. However, that does not relieve us of responsibility for succeeding in our efforts. Austin counselor Kimberly Key will address the matter of power inequity in her plenary presentation to NASJE.
The documentary film Tomlinson Hill is the story of white and black America as seen through the small Texas town of Marlin located about 100 miles from Austin. The film takes its name from a former Texas slave plantation that was once located in this region. It is also the last name of two descendants from Tomlinson Hill—one black, Loreane Tomlinson, and one white, Chris Tomlinson. Both are featured in the film. In fact, Chris Tomlinson is the film’s producer. The film was directed by Lisa Kaselak.
The NASJE Membership and Mentorship Committee is excited to welcome one of our newest members, Ms. Sarah Lee! Sarah has recently moved from New York City to Reno, Nevada, and is handling the culture shock with grace. She was kind…
NASJE member Judge Peggy Hora (Ret.), president and co-founder of the Justice Speakers Institute — an essential resource on national and international justice issues — was a featured speaker at the 6th World Forum Against Drugs on Monday, May 14, 2018, in Gothenburg, Sweden.