A Special Time

By Tunheim, John R. | Judicature, September/October 2007 | Go to article overview

A Special Time


Tunheim, John R., Judicature


Have you ever been part of an organization that you feel is just on the threshold of accomplishing great things and really making a difference? An organization that is clearly on the right track and on its way to providing inspired leadership in the great effort to improve our justice system? That is the way I feel today about the American Judicature Society and why I am so honored to be selected this year as AJS President. AJS has a distinguished history, but something tells me that this time is special.

Under the leadership of Executive Vice President Seth Andersen, the AJS staff is an outstanding blend of experienced leaders and committed new experts with great ideas. AJS has a truly exceptional group of very dedicated volunteer members who work through the Board of Directors, the Board committees and the AJS National Advisory Council. A detailed and thoughtful strategic plan is in place. The issues - merit selection of judges, judicial ethics, the criminal justice system, the jury system, forensic science in public policy - are the great issues of our time, and are facing new and difficult challenges. It is truly a great time to be involved in AJS.

One of those challenges, new barriers to merit selection of judges provoked by the Supreme Court's decision in Republican Party v. White, continue to reverberate across the country. Even in the State of Missouri, where the 'Missouri Plan' is widely recognized as having produced generations of excellent judges, merit selection is under attack. AJS is continuing its work in many states helping respond to the new rules and minimize the politicization of judicial elections.

Looking toward the future, it is my goal this year to expand the AJS reach into international rule of law work. So much is being done across the globe to build independent judiciaries and fair systems of justice. …

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