President's Message

Bienvenu!  Welcome to the homepage of the American Judges Association!  We are the only judicial organization that represents Judges from both Canada and the United States and we are the largest judges only association in the U.S.  Our members include a cross section of judges from all levels of courts with all levels of jurisdiction, a truly diverse group that, when united, allows us to speak as the “Voice of the Judiciary!”  Our main goal is found in our motto:  “Making Better Judges!”  Our organization is dedicated to enhancing individual judicial skills and, working together, helping to improve the system of justice in North America.  We attempt to accomplish our goals through our premiere educational programs at our mid-year and annual conferences, by our quarterly publication of an exceptional Judicial Journal, COURT REVIEW, by our “White Papers,” by our blog, and by our close association with the National Center for State Courts.  Our association is a leader in advancing the important concept of “Procedural Fairness”, the focus of several of our White Papers.  If you are not already a member, a membership application can be found on our website.  Please join us and together we can “Make Better Judges.” Merci Beaucoups!  Thank you very much for coming to our webpage.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  I look forward to serving you as your AJA President this year.  John

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  • AJA adopts latest white paper on procedural fairness

    The American Judges Association, at its annual conference in Seattle, adopted the latest in a series of white papers focusing on procedural fairness.  The paper, “The Judge is the Key Component:  The Importance of Procedural Fairness in Drug-Treatment Courts,” can be found here

  • AJA is pleased to announce 2015 Award Recipients
    AJA presented its 2015 awards at the recent annual conference in Seattle.  AJA was honored to present its first Judicial Courage Award to Judge Robert B. Hanson, District Court Judge in Des Moines, for his 2007 ruling in Varnum v. Brien that found a clerk’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples unconstitutional.  The National American Gavel Award was presented to the Center for Public Integrity team of Chris Young, Kytja Weir, Reity O’Brien, Henry Kerali and John Dunbar for their “Juris Imprudence” project that penetrated the veil of secrecy surrounding the financial holdings and activities of the nation’s most powerful judges; the Regional American Gavel Award went to Susan Ferriss, also of the Center for Public Integrity, for her article on “Juvenile Injustice”, that revealed a pattern of neglect and abused that children’s advocates believe is hidden in schools and juvenile courts across the country.

    In addition, AJA was pleased to present the Chief Justice Richard W. Holmes Award of Merit to Judge Colleen A. Falkowski, a Domestic Relations judge in Lake County, Ohio, for her development of a quarterly legal clinic designed to provide people who cannot afford an attorney with legal advice and information from pro bono attorneys, and assistance filling out court forms from court staff.  The Judge Libby Hines Domestic Violence Award was presented to Judge John E. Conery of the Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals for his work in the area of elder abuse, and the Judge Bob Jones Memorial Award went to Judge William J. Boyce of the 14th District Court of Appeals in Texas for his years of work in the area of judicial education.

  • AJA To Consider Bylaw Amendments
    During the General Assembly meeting in Seattle on October 6, 2016, the AJA membership will consider proposed amendments to the bylaws.  A summary of those amendments describes the changes that would be made. If the amendments are approved, the revised AJA Bylaws would look like this.

  • NCSC's Joint Technology Committee is hosting a webinar "Developing an Electronic Court Records Disposition and Preservation Plan" Thursday, July 23 from 1-2 pm EST. Register here.

  • Judges Invited to Join Adult and Juvenile Cases Listserv
    The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) invites all judges who preside over adult and juvenile cases involving community supervision, including pre-trial and probation, to join a listserv.  This listserv will serve as a secure and confidential means for judges across the country to engage in open discussions about current local and national issues in community supervision.  Judges and the NCSC will have the ability to post informational items as well as to pose questions to other listserv members and engage in discussions.  To join the listserv, send an e-mail to  In the body of the message, type:  join Judges-CommunitySupervision.  Then follow the instructions in the return message to confirm the request.  Please contact Michelle White at with any questions or for additional information.

  • AJA President Brian MacKenzie presents the 2014 American Gavel Award to Gloria Borger of CNN

  • AJA is pleased to announce the following recipients of its 2014 awards:

    Chief Justice Richard W. Holmes Award of Merit, given to a judge for outstanding contributions to the Judiciary - Hon Kevin S. Burke, Hennepin County District Court (Minnesota)

    Judge William H. Burnett Award, given to an AJA member for outstanding service to the Association - Hon. Toni Manning Higginbotham, Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

    Judge Bob Jones Memorial Award, given to recognize significant contributions to Judicial Education by a member of AJA - Hon. Roxanne Song Ong, Phoenix Municipal Court

    Judge Libby Hines Domestic Violence Award, given to a judge for significant contributions for an effective judicial response to domestic violence - Hon. Peter C. MacDonald, District Judge (retired), Commonwealth of Kentucky

    American Gavel Award for Distinguished Reporting about the Judiciary - Gloria Borger, CNN

  • AJA spent time at its 2014 midyear meeting discussing strategic planning.  The report developed from that discussion is available here.

  • Extra,  Extra read all about it...AJA Past President, Judge Kevin Burke (MN), again writes thoughtfully and insightfully, this time about judges and technology.

  • The Sedona Conference® announces new publication
    The Sedona Conference® has just released its latest publication, The Sedona Conference® Cooperation Proclamation: Resources for the Judiciary. The Resources are intended to assist state and federal judges with the management of electronically stored information ("ESI") in civil discovery and at trial, focusing on the "stages of litigation from a judge's perspective," beginning with the preservation of ESI and proceeding through the initial case management order, the resolution of discovery disputes, trial issues, and post-judgment awards of ESI-related costs. (More.)

  • The American judges Association is proud to announce its partnership with the National Association of Women Judges' Informed Voter-Fair Judges initiative. Please go to the following link (visit our website) for more information about this important effort by judges to better inform citizens about the importance of having fair and impartial courts to fulfilling the aspirations of citizens in a democracy and guaranteeing opportunities to live prosperous, productive, complete and fulfilling lives.

  • New Center on Access to Justice for All
    Technical assistance available through new Center on Court Access to Justice for All. The National Center for State Courts has launched a new Web site to assist courts in their efforts to expand access to justice. For more information, see this announcement or visit the Access Center at (Announcement.)

  • AJA is pleased to announce a new affinity credit card program. You can support AJA while earning rewards for yourself by applying for and using a custom Visa® Platinum Card. We encourage you to go to this link - - to learn more and to apply for your new card.

  • AJA announces completion of an updated booklet for judges on domestic violence - Domestic Violence and the Courtroom, Knowing the Issues... Understanding the Victim.

  • AJA Past President to Receive Rehnquist Award
    AJA Past President Steve Leben of the Kansas Court of Appeals has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 William H. Rehnquist Award of Judicial Excellence. Judge Leben served as AJA President from 2006-2007 and is being honored for his extensive work in the area of procedural fairness. Complete information is available here. Congratulations Judge Leben!

2015 Annual Conference
October 4-7
Seattle, Washington

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2016 Midyear Meeting

April 19-22
Santa Fe, New Mexico