How wonderful it was to see so many of you at our 59th annual convention in Atlanta last week! Looking ahead to my year as your FMJA President, I must begin by thanking our Immediate Past President Nicole Mitchel (E.D. Texas), who did a stellar job this past year. I also want to thank all our past presidents who laid the groundwork for this strong organization that we enjoy today.
We are marching into another year with a phenomenal team consisting of Shiva Hodges (D. South Carolina), our President-Elect; Ignacio Torteya (S.D. Texas), our Vice-President; Helen Adams (D. Iowa), our Treasurer; Katharine Parker (S.D. New York), our Secretary; our board, comprised of directors from each of our circuits and representatives for part-time magistrate judges and retired and recall judges; and, of course, Shari Bedker, our indefatigable Executive Director. We are all at your service, so do not hesitate to contact us with your ideas, concerns, and news.
As I mentioned at our annual meeting, as your President, in addition to supporting and promoting our indispensable role in the federal court, I would like to spotlight all the various ways magistrate judges are engaging and enhancing Civics Education and Civics Literacy. The goals of the President’s Civics Education Initiative are to (1) document our civics outreach and engagement; (2) share and learn from each other’s ideas for civics outreach and engagement; (3) provide accessible ready-to-go resources to our members for civics outreach and engagement; and (4) report back to you on our efforts at our 60th Convention in New Orleans from July 15–17, 2024. For instance, if you take a naturalization ceremony “on the road” to a school, ball game, or your local museum, we want to hear about it and share it in our Bulletin and on our website. Likewise, if you do a civics education program for your local Scouts, teachers’ association, library, or newspaper, we also want to hear about it and share it. In short, magistrate judges are engaging in civics outreach in countless and innovative ways, and we want to capture these numerous activities, celebrate them, and shamelessly copy them in our own districts. Expect to hear more from your FMJA on this initiative in the coming weeks.
Beyond civics education and outreach, there are many other ways to participate in the FMJA. Do you have ideas for our newsletter? There is a home for you on our Bulletin Committee. Perhaps you have ideas for our law review. If so, the Federal Courts Law Review committee awaits you. Or maybe your talents and interests are better aligned with the work of one of our other committees— Rules, Legislative, Sunshine, Diversity, History and Archives, Bylaws, Website, Security, Title, or International Committees. This is your organization, so whatever your interests, there is a home for you here. In the coming weeks, you can expect a survey on committee selections.
In closing, I love being a magistrate judge, and I love magistrate judges. Thank you for the privilege of being your number one fan, ambassador, and President of this great organization.
Nancy Joseph (E.D. Wisconsin)