Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Judges Joining Together

As I mentioned last July, Chief Justice Jefferson and I are active in our respective national associations. Personally I have always found there to be great value,and comfort, in connecting with people who do what you do, but in other states. The National Center for State Courts supports our groups (which are limited to chiefs and state court administrators) but also a number of other groups that may be of interest to judges in Texas. See the whole list on their website, and the one I wanted to single out today, because they have a brand new website, is the American Judges Association. They also publish Court Review, a very useful magazine; for example, the current issue has an article on how to have an effective commission to address racial and ethnic bias in the courts. Another group that I have been very impressed with, which is not supported by NCSC, is the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; El Paso District Judge Patricia Macias is the current President, and I know several other Texas judges who are very active with them, including our Jurist in Residence, John Specia, and District Judge Darlene Byrne, here in Travis County.

1 comment:

  1. To be an effective court consultant, I know I know must spend time outside of the office of the person who hired me, looking and listening, asking questions. I think it's the same for court professionals. I agree that professional organizations help to assess your court or court system not against themselves (e.g., we are getting worse at a slower rate than last year) but according to benchmarks outside, in other states. Over the last years, I've found that getting an even broader view of different legal traditons including civil law and Islamic law systems in other parts of the world has helped me to see what we do in a different and valuable light. For example, the judges in Constitutional Courts in large parts of Europe and beyond do not have life tenure and decide cases by unanimous opinion (no dissent), avaoiding much of the political difficulties of nominating justices in the U.S. There are many other examples of how things are done in other countries that help to get us out the boxes of our thinking and expand the possible. Organizations like the International Association for Court Administrations (IACA)and other regional groups (e.g., the European Union of Rechtsplaeger) are convenient gateways.

    Ingo Keilitz