Date: November 13, 2003 Contact: Laura Kiernan
Court Information Officer
271-2646 x359



Supreme Court Justice Joseph Nadeau to Chair National Commission on Court System Funding


CONCORD—The American Bar Association announced Wednesday that Associate Justice Joseph P. Nadeau of the New Hampshire Supreme Court has been appointed chairman of a new "Commission on State Court Funding" which will examine problems arising from chronic under-funding of state judicial systems nationwide.

The ABA commission will study innovative approaches to funding the courts and will make recommendations next year on how states can ensure that court systems have adequate resources to meet the demands of growing caseloads.

"I am honored to be part of a national discussion on the impact of budget reductions on our court systems and on our ability to serve the public," Justice Nadeau said. "In New Hampshire, and around the country, judges are working hard with their legislatures to balance economic realities with the needs of the courts. We all welcome an opportunity to develop new ideas to help with this relentless challenge."

The commission, appointed by ABA President Dennis W. Archer, will make specific recommendations on budget-related issues identified in the report "Justice in Jeopardy," a comprehensive look at challenges facing state court systems. The ABA project is supported with a grant from the Open Society Institute, a private foundation that supports a range of initiatives worldwide, including social, legal and economic reform.

"The impact of cutbacks in court systems around the country, staff layoffs, postponements of jury trials, reductions in the hours courts are open to the public, cuts in funding for indigent defense, all mean we are unable to provide timely access to justice to our citizens, " Nadeau said. "The well-being and security of our communities suffer when the courts are unable to serve the public effectively."

The commission includes judges and a cross section of people who represent various entities who are impacted by the court system. In addition to Justice Nadeau, the members are:

· Justice Mark D. Martin of the North Carolina Supreme Court, ABA Coalition for Justice;

· Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer of the Ohio Supreme Court, Conference of Chief Justices;

· Judge Elizabeth S. Stong of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York, ABA Section of Business Law;

· District Judge Debra H. Lehrmann of Ft. Worth, Texas, ABA Section of Family Law;

· Judge Arthur L. Burnett Sr., of the District of Columbia Superior Court, ABA Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children;

· Sarah Buel of the University of Texas School of Law, ABA Commission on Domestic Violence;

· Dwight L. Smith of Tulsa, Okla., ABA Section of General Practice, Solo and Small Firms;

· Susan A. Low, assistant city attorney, Des Moines, Iowa, ABA Section of Government and Private Sector Lawyers;

· Virginia Sloan of the Constitution Project, Washington, D.C., ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities;

· Michael L. Buenger, state court administrator, Missouri Supreme Court, ABA Judicial Division;

· Paul T. Moxley of Salt Lake City, Utah, ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence;

· Donald Bivens of Phoenix, ABA Section of Litigation;

· James A. Noe Jr. of Mercer Island, Wash., ABA Senior Lawyers Division;

· James Baird of Chicago, ABA Section of State and Local Government Law;

· Richard Campbell of Boston, ABA Section of Tort Trial and Insurance Practice; and

· Paul T. Davis of Lawrence, Kan., ABA Young Lawyers Division.

The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.

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Additional information from the American Bar Association on the Commission on State Court Funding is available at The ABA report, "Justice in Jeopardy," is available at