Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

An event this Saturday, April 18, brings together legal leaders and others to assess the experiences of the most recent Arizona county to use the judicial merit-selection system.

Pinal County is the place, and the event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, Ariz.

The speakers will include retired Ariz. Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and State Bar President Richard Platt. Lunchtime remarks will be delivered by Vice Chief Justice John Pelander.

The event runs from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, and it’s free. Breakfast and lunch will be served. But registration is required, which you can do here.

That page also includes the complete program and list of speakers.

It is sponsored by numerous groups, including the State Bar of ArizonaArizona Advocacy Network and Justice at Stake. The organizers clearly want the conversation to range beyond the county line; they indicate the day’s dialogue will include “Pinal County’s judicial system, AZ’s Merit Selection System and national cases impacting Fair and Impartial Courts.”

My understanding is that the Court and the State Bar have had a difficult time encouraging attorneys to forward their names to be considered for the judicial nominating commission in Pinal County. The system has been used in other counties for a long time, but it may be getting its sea legs in Pinal. Perhaps forums like this will spread the word about merit selection’s value.

Corporations and other people are invited to hear author Jeff Clements this Friday, January 9, in an Arizona Advocacy Network event at Changing Hands Bookstore.

Corporations and other people are invited to hear author Jeff Clements this Friday, January 9, in an Arizona Advocacy Network event at Changing Hands Bookstore.

WordPress can tell me exactly how many followers there are of my blog (more on that tomorrow). Oddly enough, though, when I scan the list, not one of those followers appears to be a corporation.

Why does that surprise me? Well, given that we have been taught that corporations are people, I figured they may like blogs in roughly the same ratio as do regular old-fashioned people. But no.

That thought leaps to mind as I consider an event at the Phoenix branch of Changing Hands Bookstore this Friday evening. That’s when we can meet Jeff Clements, attorney and author of Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy From Big Money & Global Corporations. (What appears to be his own corporation-free blog is here.)

The event is hosted by the Arizona Advocacy Network, whose smart gatherings I have mentioned before. (Here is one regarding the negative qualities of judicial campaign dollars.)

Jeff Clements, looking a little corporate.

Jeff Clements, looking a little corporate.

More detail about Friday’s event—plus a free-but-necessary RSVP—is here. (Another event partner is the Justice and Social Inquiry unit within ASU’s School of Social Transformation.)

And for some particularly pointed insight into how this book and its author are the ideal interlocutors to speak to a lawyer audience, read here. As this opinion piece by Eleanor Goldfield opens:

“The title says it all: Corporations Are Not People. And Jeff Clements is in a position to know. During his tenure at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, Clements was involved in a number of cases that saw corporations eager to gain all the rights of a person without holding the responsibility of a person. … This is the cornerstone of Clements’s book: common sense blended with first-hand experience and pointed research. It’s a simple comment on what has become a complex issue.”

Not sufficiently persuaded? How about this: The book has a foreword by Bill Moyers.

Changing Hands First Draft Book Bar-logoStill nothing? How about this: This is the Phoenix location of Changing Hands Bookstore, the one in a building that formerly housed generations of lawyers who lunched at Beefeaters, the one with the bar and the ready access to Southern Rail Restaurant across the breezeway.

There you go. I figured those may be some corporations you can support. I hope to see you there; I’ll save a stool for you.

Former Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson will speak in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday October 22 on the topic of Citizens United and the influence of money in judicial elections.

Former Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson will speak in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday October 22, on the topic of Citizens United and the influence of money in judicial elections.

The guest speaker at a Wednesday Tempe event will be a retired jurist who is expected to offer frank commentary about the corrosive role of campaign money in judicial elections.

Former Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson will offer remarks about the Citizens United ruling—and especially the impact of money on the election of judges—at a mixer hosted by the Arizona Advocacy Network.

As the AAN says, “Learn how to keep Arizona’s judicial system protected from political attacks. Increasingly special interests groups and big money are targeting the courts for their own gain.”

Former Justice Nelson is just as likely to offer a rousing dialogue on a variety of issues. His judicial contributions have sometimes been controversial, outspoken and noteworthy. (You can read more about Justice Nelson here and here.)

The October 22 event, co-hosted by the ASU Indian Legal Program, takes place at the Old Main on the ASU campus, 400 E. Taylor Mall, Tempe (parking is available in the Fulton Center parking garage across University Ave.).

The event is free, but RSVP is required. Register here.

Justice at Stake logoHow do we know the weather is improving in Arizona? Our in-boxes are jammed with invitations to events—some even held outdoors!

Over the next few days, I’ll share a few event details to be sure you know as much as I do (what a low bar that is!).

Today, I mention three events, all occurring late this week. Get your curiosity and your business cards ready to attend:

  • Arizona Advocacy Network/Justice at Stake event. Thursday, Oct. 17, 5:30 pm. REGISTER HERE. Here is the detail:

“Arizona Advocacy Network is continuing our work to promote Fair Courts and Diversity on the Bench. We’re excited to invite you to our launch of a new, sustained project in collaboration with Justice at Stake, local, state and national organizations on October 17. Tim Hogan (Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest), Liz Fujii (Justice at Stake) and Eric Lesh (Lambda Legal) will each speak briefly on court cases that impact our lives, equality and justice. Guests are encouraged to make this a discussion with our three panelists. We have lots of food and drink and the social is free. You just need to reserve your place with rooftop access at the Clarendon limited to 100 guests.

“Americans are engaged in an important and vigorous debate over the best way to stem gun violence, but the heated argument begs the question: What do the numbers show? Stanford Law School Professor John Donohue III, one of the world’s leading empirical legal researchers, will give a public lecture on the subject at The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.”

  • State Bar CLE: “The Arizona Justice Project: Volunteer Lawyers on the Long Hard Road to Justice.” Friday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. Available live, Tucson simulcast or as a webcast. Here is the detail:

AZ justice-project logo“This session will showcase the work of the Arizona Justice Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to examining claims of innocence and manifest injustice, and providing legal representation for inmates believed to have been failed by the criminal justice system. The seminar will include a discussion of current advancements in forensic science as well as an overview of post-conviction relief procedures. A primary focus of the program will be to highlight the importance of and opportunities for pro bono service. Faculty will discuss actual cases involving the work of the Project to include the Drayton Witt, Bill Macumber and Louis Taylor cases.

Here’s hoping we get to meet at one or more of these events.