A Celebration and a Challenge: AJS Reaches the Century Mark

Article excerpt

I am honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of serving as president of the American Judicature Society as we inaugurate the Society's 100th year. I thank Peter Webster, outgoing president, for his exemplary service and dedication to the AJS mission. I can only hope to at least parallel Peter's impressive efforts and outstanding leadership during the past year. Moreover, I commend the dedicated work of our board of directors and staff, who are second to none, and are the principal reason that AJS remains a premier organization addressing justice system issues.

At 99 years of age, AJS remains vibrant with possibilities. How often does an organization get to celebrate its 100th anniversary? This opportunity is made even more wonderful because its history is filled with triumphs, conquered adversities and well-earned public and professional respect for hard work and achievements that have indeed made our profession and country a much better place.

How does an organization make it to a century? Clearly, reaching such a milestone signifies wisdom in having gotten it right, in successfully rolling with the punches of more than a lifetime of ups and downs, and, perhaps most importantly, in ultimately prevailing over the external forces continually swirling around an organization's mission and goals.

It customarily occurs, when an organization is fortunate enough to reach such a historical milestone, that it faces the need to change and adapt. Constant evolution is essential to remaining healthy and relevant. As such, AJS remains committed to the ideal of a fair and effective system of justice for all in America, unconditionally administered in such a way that no special favors are granted to any person or group, and every litigant is treated the same, irrespective of race, color, gender, nationality, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or class. At the same time, AJS remains committed to opposing in a nonpartisan fashion those actions and policies that have a deleterious effect on the fair administration of justice in our great country, while educating the public on threats to the ideal of equal justice for all.

At the advent of its centennial year, with great achievements behind it and challenges before it, AJS stands at a crossroads. The organization finds itself in a position not unlike that of President Abraham Lincoln at the close of the Civil War, when the United States stood on the cusp of its own centennial. …