What a year. Time simultaneously ran in full sprint yet somehow stood still. We collectively experienced the spectrum of human emotion. We learned more about each other through difficult conversations. We stood firm in our conviction that justice must ultimately prevail.
As I end my term as AJC chair, I am reflective on the efforts of our legal profession and our judiciary during these extraordinary times. There are so many of you who work tirelessly to contribute to the success of AJC. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed, and I am thankful for each of you.
Many of those efforts will culminate in the welcome return of the Appellate Judge’s Education Institute (AJEI) summit this November in Austin, Texas. Summit Chair Judge Guzman and her team have been working hard to provide fantastic programming during the November 11-14 Summit. There is great value in sitting in the same room, talking face to face, and learning from others. I look forward to stepping out from behind my computer screen and reconnecting with each of you. Look for the registration link coming soon!
I would also like to welcome our chair elect Judge Sam Thumma, of the Arizona Court of Appeals. Judge Thumma is a stellar human being who will bring new ideas and rock-steady leadership to our Conference. We are in good hands, and I pledge my continued service to the Chair and to you, the members of the AJC.
While I still have your attention, could I share one more song with you? Country music has produced songs for just about every situation. Country artists produce some of the best—and admittedly some of the worst—lyrics. One song that has been on my mind as I wind down my responsibilities as Chair is the Rascal Flatts classic “My Wish.” Here are some of the highlights:
I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow
And each road leads you where you want to go
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
I hope you never look back, but you never forget
All the ones who love you, in the place you left
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get.
But more than anything…
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things, too.
Could I add my own wish… or ask of you?
- Register for the AJEI summit in Austin as registration is now open.
- Register for the ABA Annual Meeting and look for our Showcase program, “CONSTITUTIONAL LONG HAULERS: the Undiagnosed Long-term Impact of Judicial Review on Emergency Public Health Orders!” Thanks to AJC members Justice David Thomson, Judge Chris McFadden, and CAL and CASA for their time and talents in putting this historically relevant program together. It is destined to be a keeper!
- Send me ideas to expand AJC membership, develop programming, or improve the AJC experience for you and our profession so I can promptly synthesize them and pass them along to Judge Thumma.
- Ask a friend or colleague to join AJC. We welcome judges and lawyers of all kinds, whether newcomers or veterans! We can only improve the AJC by expanding and diversifying our ranks.
I am just a small-town kid who wanted to be a lawyer because lawyers helped people. I had no idea how I would get there, or even if I could. I still don’t know how I got here, but perhaps Martin Luther King, Jr. best described how I now feel: “I feel that if you are blessed, or lucky enough, to be doing well, you should help others.”
I hope you feel the same way and keep striving to serve others. My final ask? Do one good thing to help someone else less fortunate than yourself.
It has been an honor serving beside you this past year and I look forward to contributing in the many years to come. I cannot wait to see you all this fall in Austin, Texas.