A Message from the Faculty Council Chair

By Steve L. Smith

2015-16 Faculty Council: (l-r) Hon. Jess B. Clanton, Jr. (Ret.); Hon. Andre M. Davis; Hon V. Lee Sinclair, Jr.; Hon. Vincent L. Knight; Hon. Steve L. Smith, Chair; Hon. William G. Kelly; Hon. Toni T. Boone (Ret.); Joy Lyngar. Not pictured: Hon. Jennifer Gee;  Hon. Daniel P. Ryan, J.D., Ph.D.

As I sit in my office on the Saturday before we celebrate Memorial Day, I am reminded of the ultimate sacrifice that countless men and women have made in the defense of our country. Sacrifices that have provided us the freedoms that we so often take for granted. Our country is far from perfect, but despite those imperfections, I cannot think of anywhere else I would choose to live.

One of the reasons for that opinion is the role that the Rule of Law plays. The right to trial by jury is old hat to us, but some three to four hundred years ago families were leaving countries in which their forebears had lived for millennia to embark on a search for a place where persons charged with an offense could be judged by their peers and not the Crown.

The Rule of Law relies heavily on men and women who serve as members of the judiciary. Everyone wants judges who are educated, competent and courageous in the performance of their duty. The NJC helps provide the education that is so critical to that judiciary. As faculty, we are sometimes called on to sacrifice ourselves. Not to the extent of the members of our military, but sacrifice nonetheless. We take time to plan our presentations, rearrange our dockets to allow us time for our teaching, and sometimes even have out-of-pocket costs that are never fully reimbursed. I’m pretty sure we do so not for the accolades. We do so because we have a passion to share our talents with our colleagues, and to hopefully provide them some nugget of information that will help them be a better judge than before.

Thanks. Thanks for your dedication, your sacrifice, your willingness to serve. The NJC is fortunate to have your support.


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