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April 05, 2020 National Conference of the Administrative Law Judiciary

NCALJ Chair's Column

By Hon. H. Alexander Manuel, Arlington, VA

Looking back on the recently completed virtual ABA Midyear Meeting, I am struck by how successful it was. The Judicial Division’s multipart CLE program on “Dark Money in Judicial Elections” was a highlight of the conference. Congratulation to Judge J. Michelle Childs and her team. On March 31, 2021, Judges Joan Churchill and Mimi Tsankov participated in another exciting program featuring a moot oral argument jointly sponsored by JD and the Litigation Section. They heard argument in two moot cases involving Lucia v. SEC, and its progeny, which are of special interest to the administrative judiciary.

Our own NCALJ team was also fantastic. The NCALJ virtual social hour was well attended and enjoyed by all. We had productive discussions about the all-important and ever-present issue of membership. We also devoted a substantial portion of our Midyear business meeting to exploring strategies to recruit new members. Among the many innovative and promising ideas was Judge Patricia Miles’ suggestion of presenting personal appeals through video vignettes, which was enthusiastically embraced by the EC. It should be pointed out that JD and NCALJ have enjoyed stable membership despite the challenges faced by the broader ABA. With all the wonderful ideas put forth at the Midyear Meeting, I am optimistic we will attract even more administrative adjudicators in the coming months.

Because we have been limited to virtual interactions this past year, it is perhaps more difficult to see and appreciate the great work being done by the NCALJ Executive Committee and committee chairs. We are grateful for the efforts of Judges Henry Hamilton, Emily Chafa, and Ira Sandron, who have presented excellent programs on administrative adjudication. Even more high-quality NCALJ and JD programs are in the pipeline thanks to Judge Chafa and Jim Pauli, who co-chair our Program, Education and Outreach Committee. Judge Miles continues her important work on civil rights, children in the law, and recruitment. Judge John Allen provided excellent reports on his work with the budget, strategic planning, and The Judge’s Journal. Thanks to Judges Hamilton, Miles, Michael Brownfield, Robert Cohen, and Lorraine Lee for their tireless efforts at recruiting, and to Jim Pauli for his superb marketing support. Judge David Welch continues his challenging work on the federal central panel and related projects. Kudos to Judge Danette Mincey for her skilled representation of NCALJ at the House of Delegates. Judges Julian Mann and Lee have done excellent work coordinating State and Local Administrative Adjudication issues, as well as NCALJ business-at-large. Judges Tsankov and Churchill have been quite active with numerous immigration law issues, including advocating for an Article I immigration court in the larger ABA circles. And special thanks to Judges Tsankov and Edwin Felter for their work in seeking to have NCALJ become a guest member of the Association of European Administrative Judges. As always, I thank Judge Patrick Spencer for his assistance preparing this Chair’s Column for the JD Record each quarter and keeping me updated on NCALJ developments.

In March, we celebrated Women’s History Month to honor the struggles and tremendous achievements of women throughout American history. That, of course, includes the accomplishment of women judges. NCALJ has been, and continues to be, immeasurably enriched by the leadership, guidance, and inspiration provided by women on the EC and the board, including multiple past chairs. That history will undoubtedly continue in the future considering the immensely talented women currently serving on the EC, and those interested in joining us.

Each year, our Nominating Committee recommends a slate of judges to serve in upcoming positions on the Executive Committee (EC).  As NCALJ Chair, I have the honor of appointing the Nominating Committee members, who are then approved by the EC.  Several of our NCALJ EC members are up for election next ABA year, and therefore cannot serve on the Nominating Committee this spring. The seven members of the Nominating Committee are Bob Cohen (Nominating Committee Chair), myself (Chair), John Allen (Chair-Elect), Patricia Miles (Vice-Chair), Judy Boggs (Past Chair), Mary E. Kelly (Past Chair), and Emily Chafa (Program Committee Co-Chair).

The Nominating Committee is currently accepting submissions for Executive Committee positions.  Submissions are due April 23 and will be considered by the Nominating Committee at the end of April.  The Committee’s Report of their nominations will be made available to the membership by early May 2021.  

Hon. H. Alexander Manuel

Hon. H. Alexander Manuel

2020-2021 NCALJ Chair