NASJE will turn 50 in 2025, a milestone offering the opportunity for both reflection and preparation. NASJE enters its 49th year with more members and momentum than any year before. With revisions of our seminal Principles of Judicial Branch Education underway, I decided our bylaws could also benefit form inspection. Here’s what I found:
Courts have a critical role in free societies to do justice, to guarantee liberty, to resolve disputes, to maintain rule of law, to provide for equal protection and to ensure due process of law. Our courts preserve our freedom, but only through the daily efforts of judges and court staff who administer justice in our courts. Professional judges and judicial branch employees must receive constant education and training to achieve the highest standard of competence, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism, and accountability.
The National Association of State Judicial Educators (NASJE) is a professional membership organization supporting those who strengthen our courts through judicial education.
The purposes of the Association are to:
- improve the quality of judicial branch education through the development and implementation of professional standards;
- promote research and development in the field of judicial branch education;
- provide a forum for the development of progressive theories of judicial branch education;
- increase the awareness and utilization of adult education concepts and techniques;
- establish a mechanism for the exchange of judicial branch education information;
- cooperate with other organizations in the field of judicial branch and justice system education;
- promote and represent the interests of state and local judicial branch education programs;
- meet the changing needs of the members; and
- aspire to have a diverse membership in regard to race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and national origin.
A phrase from our recent conference has stuck in my mind: “Noble goals.” It was was offered by a participant from the Caribbean who, amidst difficult conversations about restrictions on DEI training, commended us for seeking “noble goals.” It’s true that after more than two centuries our nation and its people are still seeking a “more perfect union,” but that continuing search, and our profession by extension, is guided by the noble goals central to our founding declaration and body of law.
I feel that the purpose of NASJE, laid out succinctly and poetically in our bylaws, provides noble goals to guide our profession through the next half-century. I hope these noble goals also call you to become involved in your association today, the National Association of State Judicial Educators!