What's in a Name?
Sobel, Allan D., Judicature
Pronunciation: 'jü-di-k&-"chur, -ch&r, -"tyur, -"tur
Etymology: Middle French, from Medieval Latin judicatura, from Latin judicatus, past participle of judicare
1: the action of judging : the administration of justice
2: a court of justice
3: JUDICIARY 1
The 2005 AJS Midyear Meeting was held in New Orleans this past March. One night the Board met for dinner at a famous restaurant specializing in great Louisiana delicacies. The place was packed and even those with a reservation had to wait to be seated. I had made a reservation for the group. As I reached the host, I said, "Reservation for the American Judicature Society." He noted that we had a reservation and looked around for someone to take us to our tables. Momentarily delayed in seating our party, the host turned to me and said, "Are you folks in the area as part of a tour of synagogues in the South?" Judicature vs. Judaica, a term relating to literature on Judaism, the man was obviously unaware of the meaning of Judicature.
I am not quite sure how this organization chose its name. I've checked out early copies of The Journal of the American Judicature Society, the predecessor to today's Judicature, and was unable to find any reference to how the name was selected. I also could not find any explanation in a quick review of the history of AJS written by Professor Michael R. Belknap and published in 1992. Belknap simply notes that,
On [July 10, 1913], the board, meeting in [the office of Harry Olson, Chief Justice of the Municipal Court of Chicago, and Chairman of the AJS Board from 1913-1928], voted to incorporate the new organization in the state of Illinois under the name "American Judicature Society to Promote the Efficient Administration of Justice." Actual incorporation came five days later on July 15, 1913.
Years later, the Board changed the name to American Judicature Society to Promote the Effective Administration of Justice, which remains our official name, based on the conclusion that the original name suggested that AJS is primarily concerned with how fast cases go through the system.
Despite the fact that many people, especially those not trained in the law and those born in the last half century, do not know how to pronounce "judicature," let alone understand what it means, it's a part of our history and a word that people in this organization embrace like an old pair of slippers. …