University of Denver

Voter Education Effort Featuring Justice O'Connor Wins Emmy Award

Former Manager, Quality Judges Initiative

Developed as part of the “Informed Voters – Fair Judges” project, a voter education effort led by the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ), a short film featuring retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has received an Emmy Award in the Public Service Announcement category from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The film may be viewed on the project's website in a 0:30 or 4:28 version, and in both English and Spanish. Attorney and TV writer and producer Jonathan Shapiro, who worked on such successful legal dramas as "The Practice" and "Boston Legal," took the lead in producing and directing the video.

The NAWJ describes the “Informed Voters – Fair Judges” project as "a non-partisan voter education project developed to increase public awareness about the judicial system, to inform voters that politics and special interest attacks have no place in the courts, and to give voters the tools they need to exercise an informed vote in favor of fair and impartial courts." In addition to the O'Connor film, the project's website offers radio and electronic PSAs and social media messages.

The project's messages and resources are being communicated nationally, and with a specific focus on eight states—Alaska, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Washington. For these states, the project website offers extensive information about judicial selection processes, sources of voter information, and judicial candidates on the 2014 ballot.

Nearly 20 legal, citizen, and court reform organizations—including IAALS—are partners with the NAWJ on this project. Justice O'Connor helped launch IAALS' Quality Judges Initiative in 2009 and continues to work with us to promote the selection and retention of impartial and accountable state court judges.