June 17, 2014
Voter education effort wins Emmy award
Video featuring former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is centerpiece of national campaign
Washington, D.C. – A groundbreaking civics education campaign, developed and led by judges from courts across the nation, has garnered an Emmy for the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ). The film “Fair and Free” featuring former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is part of the NAWJ’s effort to address what they see as a dangerous gap in civic literacy in our nation. The Emmy, presented by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was the only award given in the Public Service Announcement category.
The preservation of a fair and impartial legal system is a major focus of the NAWJ, the nation’s primary professional organization for female jurists in state, federal and appellate courts in all 50 states. Founded in 1979, the NAWJ counts more than 1,200 members. What sets the “Informed Voters-Fair Judges” project apart from other fair courts initiatives across the country is that it is the first to be developed and implemented by judges.
“Each day in American courts, thousands of judges preside over cases ranging from traffic offenses to tax and land disputes, child abuse and murder. The judicial system reflects the fabric of life in this country. And unlike legislators, a judge must stand apart from political and partisan ideas, and ensure each litigant’s case receives a fair and impartial hearing, with a resolution based on the law. That is the foundation of the public’s trust and confidence in the courts,” said Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, a judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Washington, DC and NAWJ President.
The ‘Informed Voters – Fair Judges’ project is a non-partisan voter education project developed to increase public awareness about the judicial system, to inform voters that politics and special
interest attacks have no place in the courts, and to give voters the tools they need to exercise an informed vote in favor of fair and impartial courts. Last month, the campaign was the focus of a town hall meeting hosted by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and streamed live for audiences across the country.
“We are grateful to all of our campaign sponsors and partners who are helping us take this important message into our communities, and to The Florida Bar for underwriting production of the video,” Blackburne-Rigsby said.
To learn more about the campaign, view the educational tools that are available and find out how you can get involved, log on to ivp.nawj.org.