Monday, August 16, 2021
Last week I blogged about the recently released special issue of The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process. The issue focuses on what lawyers and judges can do to ameliorate the division in our country.
Like I did for the last issue of the Journal, I plan on blogging on the individual articles. Today my focus will be on the prefaces.
The first preface was written by retired California Appellate Judge George Nicholson. Judge Nicholson has devoted a significant part of his career toward educating the public about what judges do and encouraging judges to participate in civic education. In fact, he was the driving force behind the issue--using his vast network of contacts to recruit most of our authors. While his preface discusses the topic of civic education and outreach, his two appendices are a wealth of information--a how-to manual of sorts--for conducting court/community and court/clergy outreach.
The second preface was written by Vice Chief Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer. In her preface, Justice Timmer notes how decreased faith in government risks "adherence to the rule of law and democracy itself." She writes, "it is incumbent on those who have devoted their careers to upholding the rule of law and promoting equal justice to work towards shoring up faith in our institutions even as we disagree on how they should operate and what improvements are needed." She provides an excellent overview of the issue, discussing each of the individual pieces.
The third preface was written by Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., who is a descendant of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. I have already written a bit about Mr. Morris's preface in an article on Governing.com. As I wrote there,
Guided by history, Morris emphasizes the importance of collaboration between the judiciary and other groups to “restore faith, increase understanding and promote public confidence in the integrity of our system of justice and fairness.” He invites judges to partner with his organization, the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, to help address this very challenge. Undoubtedly, there is a role for state and local government in those efforts.
The final preface was written by noted legal journalist Tony Mauro. Mr. Mauro offers a few suggested for how appellate judges can help the new media, including writing with more clarity, talking to journalists, and understanding the role that they play when they report on opinions.
I commend each of these prefaces to you, as well as my short foreword, which provides some timeless advice from my toddler.