National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA) is recruiting ambassadors for outreach to state legislators. Here’s why: Elimination of state judicial self-policing is no longer a preposterous idea entertained by subversives. It happened in Tennessee and is contemplated by multiple state legislators. Yet the trend may not benefit and might even harm average Americans should it ultimately fall short of the citizen empowerment that NFOJA prescribes. NFOJA proposes to lawfully relieve America’s institutional actors of direct responsibility for state judicial disciplinary processes and vest it in randomly selected, rotating panels of trained private citizens.
Look how far we've come: As elusive as the concept may be, “accountability” is a great political buzz word, except, it seems, when associated with America’s judiciary. Our country’s virtual taboo against connecting the term with its third branch of government has staggering implications. In 2007, Transparency International, a prestigious anti-corruption coalition, confirmed that “(f)or whatever reason and whether petty or gross, corruption in the judiciary ensures that corruption remains beyond the law in every other field of government and economic activity in which it may have taken root.” So judicial accountability generally is and should be a virtue. Admittedly its proponents do not always reverence another bedrock of American government: judicial independence.
National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA) was, at best, a vague concept in 2008 when some of the world's most prominent government whistleblowers and human rights activists gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for an historic “Citizens’ Forum On Judicial Accountability” among other events. The 2009 final report and recommendations stemming from that event introduced the profound thought that “(r)estoring the Rule of Law when breached is an obligation of and should directly involve all Americans.” NFOJA subsequently emerged, not to judge-bash or manipulate, but to, in the words of that 2009 report, “(decry) a judiciary that is ‘. . . essentially final arbiter of whether it has been corrupted and exclusive regulator of any attorney or judge who would object’.”
On April 10, 2012, NFOJA reached a milestone: five (5) separate American states (Texas, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, and Tennessee) were then in the recent news questioning some aspect of judicial self-policing. Tennessee subsequently ended the practice by creating a state judicial oversight panel with participants from all three (3) of the state’s government branches and its private sector. Now maneuvering is underway to explicitly control facets of judicial power in the State of Florida.
Why the time to really push is now: Alas, politics tends to motivate legislative crack-downs on state judiciaries in the U.S. more than sincere pursuits of justice. But the referenced developments - NFOJA’s milestone - reflect sensitivity among state legislators to voter discontent with judicial disciplinary processes that seemed unattainable just a few years ago. Of course the corresponding “solutions” or proposed solutions leave lawyers, judges, governors, legislators, inspector generals, etc., in firm command of state judicial oversight — a critical task for which these institutional actors are inherently conflicted.
Claim your rightful role: Rather than focus on minimizing circumstances likely to pit court officers and other government agents against the rule of law and corresponding oversight in the U.S., many Americans strive to directly control the discretion of these institutional actors. We cast votes for or against them; rally for legislation to empower or constrain them; and try chastening them through appeals and disciplinary channels with limited effectiveness and varying regard for judicial independence. In the process some advocates literally demonize all lawyers and judges as well as most politicians and government bureaucrats. In contrast, with all due respect, NFOJA proposes to lawfully relieve America’s institutional actors of direct responsibility for state judicial disciplinary processes and vest it in randomly selected, rotating panels of trained private citizens.
Elimination of state judicial self-policing is no longer a preposterous idea entertained by subversives. It happened in Tennessee and is contemplated by multiple state legislators. Yet the trend may not benefit and might even harm average Americans should it ultimately fall short of the citizen empowerment that NFOJA prescribes. As compared to state judges ― governors, state legislators, and their hand-picked constituents are not such great stewards of justice that pushing beyond them for NFOJA’s proposed "Citizen Panel On Judicial Misconduct Act" [Act Summary / Current Full Version] would be counterproductive. In fact, history suggests that state judicial self-policing is preferable to having state judiciaries more directly beholden to governors and/or state legislators than they are now.
NFOJA is the sensible, viable alternative: Whether you consider judges and other institutional actors inherently conflicted or innately reprehensible when it comes to judicial oversight, NFOJA’s “Citizen Panels On Judicial Misconduct Act” is the increasingly viable alternative. Its essentialness in maintaining the proper balance between judicial independence and judicial accountability in America grows clearer and clearer. The case for promoting and ultimately enacting the proposed legislation began to be made with the referenced report and recommendations from our 2008 citizens’ forum in Washington, D.C. Supporting arguments grew stronger in a 2010 submission to the United Nations by OAK, a national coalition of grassroots advocates including NFOJA. The case further solidifies through "The Matthew Fogg Symposia On The Vitality Of Stare Decisis In America".
Help Make It Happen: NFOJA is preparing to make its most comprehensive case for the “Citizen Panels On Judicial Misconduct Act” to appropriate state legislators. If you are a NFOJA member and are willing to be its Ambassador to your state legislature, please let us know by CLICKING HERE
- NFOJA Ambassadors will receive lobbying materials and training to harmonize their pursuit of NFOJA’s corporate mission with compatible personal goals.
The sooner you help put NFOJA on the proverbial map, the sooner it becomes apparent to state legislatures that “ . . . ‘the real problem for our country is not the reality or unwarranted perception of judicial misconduct’ . . . , but the lack of forums for addressing allegations of judicial misconduct that do not rely almost exclusively for effectiveness on judicial integrity and/or that of lawyers and/or public officials whose power and/or careers are controlled or substantially impacted by judges.”
Feel free to contact NFOJA with any questions or comments care of email@example.com
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your participation.
National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA)
 There has been a lot of public garment rending by New Hampshire state legislators over alleged abuses of judicial power, but an August 2012 editorial by the chairman of New Hampshire's Judicial Conduct Committee suggests the protests are more theatrics than legislative oversight.
 Which remains the case when current and/or former state judges dominate supposedly multi-government branch, judicial oversight agencies.