Judge


Sandra Day O'Connor, before she was a Justice.

Sandra Day O’Connor, before she was a Justice.

This past week, I finally had the chance to see a historic exhibit that has been on display since September (I mentioned it before). I’m glad I caught the show regarding Sandra Day O’Connor before it closes in May.

Whether or not you’re a cowgirl, or Irish, you’ll enjoy the show at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix.

Some photos I took during my visit are here on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

In the next (April) issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, I write about my visit in my editor’s column. Here it is (spoiler alert):

Honoring a cowgirl–justice

Let’s admit at the outset: Sandra Day O’Connor may not be Irish.

That small fact detracts not a whit from an installation at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix that explores one remarkable woman’s path from cowgirl to jurist.

The show—up since September but which I finally saw in February—comes to Phoenix from Texas—Fort Worth, in particular. That’s where (of course) the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is located, and where they conceived the idea of “The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice.”

Sandra Day O'Connor speaks at her Senate confirmation hearings, her image reflected on the case holding her judicial robe.

Sandra Day O’Connor speaks at her Senate confirmation hearings, her image reflected on the case holding her judicial robe. (Click to enlarge.)

The well-chosen exhibition displays offer viewers the opportunity to explore how life on the ranch and in chambers are similar and different. You can’t help but marvel at the distance a young girl traveled, and it’s hard to resist viewing her judicial approach anew, through the lens of the Lazy B Ranch (where, to nobody’s surprise, no one was lazy).

Family photos and a branding iron are concrete and evocative reminders of Justice O’Connor’s heritage. But the portion of the beautiful room given over to her ascension to the Court reminds us of her historic appointment.

As I watched the looping footage of O’Connor’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I was struck by her calm demeanor and kind but firm method of schooling her questioners. Her flickering visage, reflected in the case holding her judicial robe, reminded me how fortunate Arizona is to be home to talented lawyers and jurists like Sandra Day O’Connor.

The show remains open until May 23, 2015. More information is here.

See how the ranch and the bench intersected in Sandra Day O'Connor's life at an event Wednesday, Feb. 25.

See how the ranch and the bench intersected in Sandra Day O’Connor’s life at an event Wednesday, Feb. 25.

This Wednesday, a Phoenix event will include an opportunity to see a display of items related to Sandra Day O’Connor’s cowgirl days.

The mixer of the Phoenix Community Alliance will be held at the Irish Cultural Center in Margaret T. Hance Park on Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 4:30 to 6:30. The address is 1106 N Central Ave., Phoenix 85004.

Register here for the free event (a map and parking information are also available).

As organizers say:

“The Irish Cultural Center is also home to the McClelland Irish Library, which resembles a traditional 12th century Norman castle from the Emerald Isle. The library consists of 8,000 books from Irish authors, poets, and genealogical sources.”

On exhibit in the library is “The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor,” an interactive exhibit that shows how the ranch and the bench intersected. It “demonstrates how a cowgirl from a ranch in Arizona became the first female to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”

I wrote before about the connection between the Irish Cultural Center and Justice O’Connor.

For more about what you’ll see at the exhibit, click here.

Irish Cultural Center, Phoenix

Irish Cultural Center, Phoenix

Ernest W McFarland Ariz Archives

Ernest W. McFarland (Ariz. Archives)

Arizona Statehood Day is this weekend, and what better way to celebrate than to honor someone who made an amazing mark on the state.

On Saturday afternoon, Feb. 14, from 2:00 to 3:00, there will be a dedication of the Ernest W. McFarland Memorial and the American Dream Memorial.

The organizers say:

Ernest McFarland

Ernest McFarland

“The public is invited to the unveiling of the new memorial to honor the legacy of ‘Mac’ on Statehood Day. Please join us for a discussion of the McFarland legacy, the symbolism behind the site, and a ceremonial dedication of the memorial to the people of Arizona. Tours will be available immediately following the event. For more information or to RSVP, please call (602) 466-3333.”

The location is Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, 1700 W. Washington Street, Phoenix AZ 85007.

More information is here. And some great photos of the memorial are here.

Not sure you can quite place McFarland? Consider this opener in Wikipedia, and then re-examine your own life’s achievements!

“Ernest William McFarland (October 9, 1894 – June 8, 1984) was an American politician and, with Warren Atherton, is considered one of the ‘Fathers of the G.I. Bill.’ He is the only Arizonan to serve in the highest office in all three branches of Arizona government—two at the state level, one at the federal level. He was a Democratic Senator from Arizona from 1941 to 1953 (Majority Leader from 1951 to 1953) before serving as the tenth Governor of Arizona from 1955 to 1959. Finally McFarland sat as Chief Justice on the Arizona Supreme Court in 1968.”

Ernest McFarland Memorial artist rendering

Ernest McFarland Memorial artist rendering

icivics logoCongratulations to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and all the people at iCivics for being named to receive a “MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.”

Read the Washington Post story here. As the story opens:

“A civics education program founded by former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor and two other nonprofit groups … are among nine organizations worldwide selected this year for the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The awards for the nonprofit groups, less well known than the MacArthur Foundation’s ‘genius grants’ for individuals, provide as much as $1 million to each institution.

And here is a brief video about how iCivics works.

And read more about iCivics here.

On Friday, Feb. 6, 2015: The Rehnquist Court Ten Years Later

On Friday, Feb. 6, 2015: The Rehnquist Court Ten Years Later

On Friday this week, a distinguished group will gather in Tucson to commemorate an anniversary related to former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. As the organizers describe it:

“On February 6, 2015, the William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government will convene a day-long conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the end of William H. Rehnquist’s 19 year service as Chief Justice of the United States. The gathering will be a chance to examine the legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist’s jurisprudence, especially in the areas of federalism, separation of powers, and lawyering. The day will close with an informal reception and dinner for all conference attendees.”

The day’s topics will include:

  • federalism
  • the role of the Chief Justice
  • criminal procedure, and
  • the First Amendment and religion

Rehnquist Center banner logoSpeakers are slated to include practicing lawyers, law professors from the UA and around the country, as well as federal district and Circuit court judges.

You can read the complete program here.

And there is still time to register here.

Note that the event will be held at the Westward Look Resort & Spa (245 E. Ina Road, Tucson 85704). (A map is below.)

Questions? Contact Bernadette Wilkinson at bwilkins@email.arizona.edu or 520-626-1629.

April 2012 Arizona Attorney: Lawyers Go Green

April 2012 Arizona Attorney: Lawyers Go Green

“Best hits of 2012? Did I hear that right?”

You may be asking yourself that very thing as I kick off this short holiday week with three posts that highlight some of my favorite content from the three past years of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

I had considered hanging a “closed” sign on my blog this week. But then I thought I’d enjoy looking back and spotting some bright spots. And then on this Wednesday—the last day of the year—I’ll round this effort out when I identify some great work from this past year … in case you missed it.

I did something like this back in 2010, and readers told me they enjoyed it (but maybe they were being nice).

In any case, here are my recommendations for 2012 content for your quiet winter evenings:

Turn to our April 2012 coverage of green law offices (for which I am very grateful to attorney Jennifer Mott).

In July/August 2012, we were privileged to run Maureen Kane’s great piece on Justice Michael Ryan. (It is followed by some memories of his then-clerks, which you can read here.)

The July/August 2012 Arizona Attorney included our coverage of Justice Michael Ryan.

The July/August 2012 Arizona Attorney included our coverage of Justice Michael Ryan.

And if you like history:

Sentencing reform showed promise in Arizona in 2012.

Sentencing reform showed promise in Arizona in 2012.

Finally, here is a January 2012 piece I enjoyed reporting and writing myself on the possibilities for sentence reform in Arizona (my work benefited greatly from a Guggenheim Fellowship I won that year that connected me with some very smart sources).

Tomorrow, we turn to 2013.

Arizona Attorney December 2014 cover

Becoming something new, or at least thinking about it?

As we all rush about for the holiday season, I offer up the word transformation, which occupied the minds of a few author-attorneys in the December issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

The two folks—Judge Randall Howe and law professor Susan Rabe—explained what went into their decision to explore deviations from the law practice norm.

You can read Judge Howe here and read Professor Rabe here.

But their perambulations got me thinking that there are probably many stories of Arizona lawyers who took different paths. I’ve already heard from a few, but please write me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org to tell me your tale. We may find a way to share those stories in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

In the meantime, I reprint below my Editor’s Letter from December. (And yes, despite the queries I received, the image does depict a butterfly, and not a moth!).

After that, I may be blog-quiet for a bit—maybe even for a week! We’ll see. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Spreading your wings

In an issue that’s dedicated to “becoming,” you may wonder how we illustrate such a thing.

When it comes to a legal magazine, “becoming” may seem like a pretty conceptual side trip (emphasis on trip). Lawyers believe they address nuts, bolts, and the deals that keep them together (or sever them, when needed). So lawyerly career transformation would appear to be a tangent.

But high-concept is often what we must address in the magazine. Flip through back issues and you’ll see what I mean: copyright, free speech, civil practice rules, grandparent visitation, trademark, even “thinking like a lawyer.” Not easy stuff to, y’know, picture. (Go on; you try it.)

That’s why I appreciate how rarely our talented Art Director, Karen Holub, must resort to the dreaded gavel or scales of justice. Among our colleagues nationwide who address the law in print, most agree that those are tools to be kept behind glass, broken only in the case of emergency. But where others break the glass monthly, we rarely do.

So when we considered “becoming,” I kept my mouth shut and my mind open. I didn’t offer Karen the one obvious approach—a butterfly emerging from a pupa—not merely because it’s stereotypical and a little mushy, but because creative people like Karen think best with only a modest amount of guidance but a whole lot of freedom. (The obvious butterfly that graces this page is the only one you’ll see in the issue, and was my idea.)

I hope you like our “becoming” art as much as I do. Well done, Karen.

Some attorneys are remaking themselves. And you? (photo by Michael Apel via Wikimedia Commons)

Some attorneys are remaking themselves. And you? (photo by Michael Apel via Wikimedia Commons)

And well done to those lawyers who have sought out new and affirming paths.

In the section’s introduction, we say that the legal profession is “a home for searchers.” Maybe it doesn’t seem like that on a Friday when you’re scrambling to complete your too-long-neglected timesheets. But many lawyers seek fulfillment, within and without the traditional legal field. And from where we sit, that is happening more and more, across multiple generations.

So consider this month’s issue as a call to the searchers. Today, we cover those who have made their way to be a judge and a teacher. But in the coming months … ?

Other lawyers, I’m sure, have made entirely different choices. Entrepreneurs, chefs, vintners, farmers—all that and more likely dots the experience palette of Arizona’s lawyers.

If you’re becoming—or became—write to us at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

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