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Private Citizens Address Judicial Accountability on Capitol Hill

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Since 2006, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has periodically convened with judicial officers, lawyers, and opinion leaders from the corporate, non-governmental organization, and media fields to develop and pursue strategies for increasing public confidence in the judiciary and promoting judicial independence.  “Unfortunately the logistics or criteria for joining Justice O’Connor’s group has not prompted the involvement of many grassroots advocates with relevant empirical data and comprehensive, sound views on the proper scope of judicial accountability in America” says Zena Crenshaw, executive director of National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. (NJCDLP).  On Thursday – May 15, 2008 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., NJCDLP will co-host a “Citizens’ Forum On Judicial Accountability” in Washington, D. C.  The one day event will be part of a week long gathering of some of the world’s most prominent government whistleblowers and human rights activists.


“Our invitees embody a cross section of views on appropriate judicial oversight” notes Betsy Combier, president of the E-Accountability Foundation, a co-host of the upcoming Citizens’ Forum.  Attorney Michael R. McCray, chairman of “The 3.5.7 Commission”, a forum co-host studying the proliferation of summary judgments in employment discrimination cases, adds “in fact the greatest value of our event should be the comprehensiveness it brings to the debate about judicial independence and accountability in America.”  U. S. Marshal Matthew Fogg (INA), founder and national president of CARCLE (Congress Against Racism and Corruption in Law Enforcement), a forum co-host, interjects that “the debate will likely continue, but our event will bring to bear all the relevant, legitimate considerations.”


Zena Crenshaw explains the strategy for bringing all relevant perspectives to bear through the anticipated forum on judicial accountability.  “First we invited a blue ribbon, deliberately bi-partisan presiding panel to include the Honorable Eileen Olds, president of the American Judges Association.”  Also, “our program will begin with an academic debate on the resolution that adequate judicial oversight is generally available in America through well-established government processes.”  According to Crenshaw, renowned civil rights activist and former constitutional law professor attorney Thomas N. Todd will then introduce through a pre-recorded interview the contention that Congress should nationalize free speech standards for critiquing judges in the interest of zealous advocacy and fair trials.  “The question of whether current government processes for judicial oversight generally align with due process in America will then be considered in light of testimony from a pre-selected panel of U. S. citizens” says Crenshaw.  She adds “their account of real cases and experiences should suggest problems beyond the prospect of isolated miscarriages of justice and will hopefully prompt consensus among our presiding panelists on the need for a corresponding national solution.”


“House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr., Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, and Congressman Ron Paul have been invited to join our presiding panel in person or by their representative” reports Matthew Fogg.  “Our confirmed participants include leaders of prominent national and international organizations as well as media personalities” Betsy Combier adds.  “During the lunch hour, our guests will be treated to an invaluable mentoring program for good government advocates by its founder, Jim Holzrichter of Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF)” reports attorney McCray.  “Alternatively participants can attend a concurrent workshop for international whistleblowers to be hosted from noon to 1:00 p.m. by the Government Accountability Project” McCray adds.


The entire Thursday, May 15, 2008 program will take place beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Capitol Hill at the Stewart Mott House, 122 Maryland Avenue, NE – Washington, DC 20002 – Phone: 202-546-3732.  A private luncheon will be held for the presiding panelists and witnesses to testify at the Citizens’ Forum on Judicial Accountability.  All other guests are encouraged to brown bag their lunch so as to attend the exciting workshops on mentoring and international whistleblowers scheduled from noon to 1:00 p.m.  Attorney McCray will present a “Profile In Courage” award during the lunch time programs.


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Zena D. Crenshaw is presently a lawyer before the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Executive Director of National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc., and host of the internet radio show "Change of Venue".

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