The Rodel Institute hosted a successful seminar on September 15 – 18, 2022 for its inaugural class of the Rodel Judicial Fellowship. Seventeen federal judges and state supreme court justices gathered in Sun Valley, Idaho for a long weekend examining judicial leadership and the important role of judges in strengthening American democracy.
Discussion was vibrant and engaging as participants dissected readings on the challenges facing global democracies, public perceptions of judicial legitimacy, the historical evolution of the American courts, and case studies in judicial leadership. Numerous Fellows left the seminar with new perspectives on their roles as stewards of democracy in addition to that of impartial arbiters of the rule of law. One judge commented that “the weekend has wonderfully challenged me,” and another said, “it was a very helpful and thought-provoking weekend.”
The September seminar was the first of a three-part fellowship that will culminate with a long weekend in the United Kingdom in September 2024. It is an unprecedented effort to gather leading federal and state judges to rethink judicial leadership and examine the judiciary’s vital role as a democratic safeguard. As one judge noted, the program is “different in kind, not just degree from other judicial conferences in which I’ve participated.” The participants will reconvene next September in upstate New York to continue the discussion and address the role of judicial norms in a thriving democracy.