Fearful of a growing backlash from the public against arbitrary, prejudiced, and even malicious judgments that are protected by judicial immunity, judges have banded together under government sponsorship to devise means of defending themselves from aggrieved and increasingly militant pro-se litigants.
The curriculum and manuals for this course were prepared with a grant from the State Justice Institute: Award No. SJI-96-02B-B-159, “The Rise of Common Law Courts in the United States: An Examination of the Movement, the Potential Impact on the Judiciary, and How the States Could Respond.” The State Justice Institute (SJI) is a non-profit, 501C(3) corporation that was started in 1986 and funded by Congress to develop courses and training manuals for state courts and judicial training organizations.
“Constitutionalists in Court” was held in the St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota area in the summer of 2000 by the National Judicial College (NJC) of Reno, Nevada, and the same course was held again November 13-14, 2000, also at NJC in Reno. This course discusses the history of protest movements affecting the judiciary, identifies typical challenges and ways to handle them, anticipates courtroom security needs, and plans solutions and strategies.
I originally started researching judicial training organizations in 1996 after I was denied an inheritance by the New Jersey court system when my parents died and was also denied entrance to a conference and course materials at NJC in May, 1996, called “The National Conference on the Media and the Courts: Working Together to Serve the American People.” The media conference was closed to the public. Only one New Jersey judge, Martin Kravarick, attended that conference. Judge Kravarick was elected president of the American Judges Association (AJA), a judge's organization under NCSC. AJA publishes a quarterly journal called Court Review, available in your local law library, by subscription, or through interlibrary loan from NCSC along with the training manuals mentioned above.
Each state has an SJI repository for all publications put out by the organizations they have funded. For example, the repository in Nevada is at NJC in Reno. In New Jersey, the SJI repository is at the New Jersey State Library in Trenton. You can check out these training manuals with a New Jersey library card. You can also find out where your SJI repository is by looking it up on the Internet at http://www.statejustice.org, by calling SJI at 703-684-6100, or by writing to the State Justice Institute, 1650 King street, Alexandria, VA 22314.
SJI is funded by Congress with your tax dollars. If you don't like the courses and materials they are funding, you can write to your senator or congressman, or directly to SJI and ask them to stop funding these materials. SJI gets very few letters from the public, and I'm sure they would love to hear from you. When you get to their Web site, read and download the newsletters. Most of their new grants are in their newsletters.
The National Center for State Courts is an umbrella organization for several judges' organizations such as the National College of Probate judges (NCPJ), AJA, CCJ, COSCA, ICM and others. I have been a member of NCPJ since 1996 and have attended four judges' conferences. The most controversial and harmful material against the public is coming from NJC and NCSC materials, two agencies that compete with each other for SJI and federal government funding.
In the training manuals mentioned above, there are two sections in each book where the writers advise judges and court personnel such as court clerks and guards on how to handle pro-se litigants using a step-by-step process. The writers of these manuals reveal a court that is biased and has a dangerous point of view about justice and equal access in the court system.
Copyright © 2001 June Wisniewski
The Author: June Wisniewski is a legal researcher and journalist in Reno, Nevada, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She has written a number of articles on judicial subjects and is author of the book, The Coffin Chasers: An Aggrieved Litigant's Journey Through the Corrupt World of Probate. The source of this article is the January 5, 2001 issue of the Idaho Observer (http://proliberty.com/observer/20010105.htm). The text has been modified by reformating and other nonconsequential editing and is noted as such at the request of the author. The subject matter is the basis of another book by Wisniewski, Unequal Justice: The Inside Story of the National Judicial College.
Note 2: In 2006, the American Bar Association issued a manual, Countering the Critics; Q&E Guide [PDF], that instructs judges on how to respond to complaints about the lack of accountability and other "hot-button" issues they are likely encounter from critics of the American court system.