A Legacy Organization
Hayes, Dennis Courtland, Judicature
In the last issue of Judicature, I wrote in this space about threats to the nation's capacity to administer justice effectively, given the impending court budget cuts forced by sequestration. Since that time, the challenges have become immediate, as sequestration is now a reality affecting all levels of government. Already, federal courts across the country are implementing significant cuts to federal public defender services, probation services, and court security. The longer the sequester remains in place, the more likely it is that civil jury trials will be suspended, courts will be closed, and essential court staff will be furloughed or laid off.
As policy-makers confront collateral consequences in the aftermath of sequestration, it is timely to consider the role that AJS and its supporters should play in leading a path to a more stable justice system. It seems clear enough that AJS must remain a beacon providing a way out of any resulting gloom. It must continue to follow its time-honored plan, doing the hard work of coalition building, membership development, and collaboration with other communities that are interested in the pursuit of a strong and independent judiciary.
It seems equally clear that AJS members and supporters must, in the spirit of the old German proverb, continue charitably to see the need, not the cause. As individuals, we build on the AJS legacy by maintaining active membership in the Society. Active membership means more than merely paying our annual dues; it also means spreading the word about the important programming and scholarship advanced by AJS. Every time we mention an article of interest in Judicature to a colleague, cite an AJS position taken in an editorial, or forward a news article that cites AJS expertise, we are building awareness for the unique, nonpartisan role that AJS plays in promoting a fair and effective justice system. When we volunteer for an AJS committee, encourage a colleague or student to join the Society, or make a financial contribution above and beyond our membership dues, we are building our own personal legacy to AJS.
For a century, AJS has contributed a rich legacy of advocacy to the cause for a fair justice system in America. …