Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts

Patricia Tobias receives 2012 Warren E. Burger Award

Williamsburg, Va. (January 30, 2013) — Patricia Tobias, Administrative Director of the Courts for the State of Idaho, has been named recipient of the 2012 Warren E. Burger Award. One of the highest awards presented by the National Center for State Courts, the Burger Award is named for the former Chief Justice of the United States who helped found the NCSC in 1971. NCSC presents the Burger Award annually to an individual who has made significant contributions in the field of court administration and who has contributed to NCSC’s mission.

“Patti is a remarkable leader, both in her state and nationally,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “She has the highest respect from her colleagues who can’t talk about Patti without mentioning her strong character and conviction for public service. One of Patti’s strengths is her ability to examine legislation affecting the courts, lobby Congress on behalf of that legislation, and develop strategies for state courts to have a voice in our nation’s capitol.”

In a letter of recommendation for the award, Idaho Chief Justice Roger S. Burdick said of Tobias: “She is an innovator, a ceaseless worker, a masterful administrator in Idaho and just as competent and important nationally.”

Tobias has served as Administrative Director of the Courts for 20 years. During this time, she actively supported the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission comprised of all entities impacted by individuals in the criminal justice system, such as health and human services, juvenile and adult correction leaders, legislative members and Idaho court officials. Tobias also spearheaded changes in the court retirement program which is credited for cutting costs and improving services. She was instrumental in implementing problem-solving courts, family court services and self-help centers for litigants not represented by attorneys across Idaho.

Prior to her position as Administrative Director, Tobias served as Clerk of the Court in St. Louis County, Missouri from 1986-93 and as Director of Court Services Division for the Missouri Supreme Court from 1980-86.

Her leadership qualities are evident in the numerous state and national positions she has held. In 2010, she was appointed COSCA’s liaison to the National Association for Court Management (NACM). From 2009-2011, she served on the Board of Directors of the Council of State Government’s Justice Center, becoming the only state court administrator to serve in this capacity. In 2003-04, she served as President of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and Vice-Chair of the NCSC Board of Directors.  She has served on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Court Innovation (New York State Institute). She received the Justice Management Institute’s Ernest C. Friesen Award of Excellence in 2008. Tobias also has received the Idaho State Bar’s Award of Distinction in 2003; the Public Policy Leadership Award in 2003; and the Kramer Award for Excellence in Judicial Administration in 2001.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court reform organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.


National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA  23185-4147