Just Horizons

Just Horizons logoJust Horizons: Charting the Future of the Courts started out as an initiative to mark NCSC’s 50th anniversary in 2021, and, as the name suggests, to envision how our work can help the courts operate more efficiently in future decades. But 2020 happened – and changed everything. It’s not just the coronavirus pandemic, which has had a profound effect on how courts dispense justice and provide services, but also the nationwide protests to end systemic racism.

NCSC has assembled a team of expert practitioners and scholars to brainstorm and make recommendations to help courts more effectively provide justice for all, including for society’s poorest, weakest and most disenfranchised people.

Five Phases

The 19-member team, the Just Horizons Council, will address a series of questions in five phases between now and the end of 2021.

  • Preserving the Future: What core values do we want to preserve?
  • Exploring Macro Trends: What trends might affect courts in the next 10 to 15 years?
  • Broadening Input: What do court stakeholders consider the most important and uncertain drivers of change for courts?
  • Creating Scenarios: What are possible futures for courts and how might each affect core justice system values?
  • Charting the Future: What actions do we take to prepare for and shape the role of courts in delivering justice in the future?

Council Members

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas

Chief Justice Hecht serves on the NCSC Board of Directors in the capacity of President of the Conference of Chief Justices.  He joined the Supreme Court of Texas in 1988 and was appointed Chief Justice in 2013. He has also served on the District Court and Texas Court of Appeals and is the longest-serving member of the Court of Texas in history. During that time, he has overseen revisions to the rules of administration, practice, and procedure in Texas courts, and was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.

Administrative Director, Administrative Office of the Courts, Kentucky

Laurie K. Dudgeon serves on the NCSC Board of Directors in the capacity of President of the Conference of State Court Administrators. She became the state court administrator in Kentucky in 2009. Under her leadership the AOC has made groundbreaking changes to its pretrial release process and helped implement penal code and juvenile justice reform. She previously practiced law in Kentucky and South Carolina and was the Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

District Court Judge, 1st Judicial District, Minnesota

Jerome B. Abrams is a general jurisdiction trial court judge serving the First Judicial District in Dakota County, Minnesota since 2007. Prior, he was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota (Complex Litigation) (2008 to 2014). Judge Abrams joined the NCSC Board of Directors in 2015 and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Business Court Judges.

Circuit Court Judge, 11th Judicial District, Florida

Jennifer D. Bailey is a general jurisdiction trial court judge serving as a circuit court judge in Miami-Dade, Florida.  She has been on the court for twenty-five years and is the Administrative Judge for the Civil Division. Judge Bailey joined the NCSC Board of Directors in 2016 and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Trial Court Performance and Accountability. She chaired the Florida Supreme Court Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force at the height of the foreclosure crisis, and previously served as Dean of the Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies.

Johnson, Toal, & Battiste, P.A., Columbia, South Carolina

Luther J. Battiste, III is a founding shareholder of Johnson, Toal & Battiste, P.A. and the current President of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has been repeatedly selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America. Mr. Battiste was one of the first two African-Americans elected to Columbia City Council since Reconstruction. He served fifteen years as a member of the Council including two terms as Mayor Pro Tempore. Mr. Battiste is a former member of the NCSC Board of Directors.

District Court Administrator, 10th Judicial Administrative District, Georgia

Tracy “T.J.” BeMent is the District Court Administrator of the 10th Judicial Administrative District, Athens, Georgia. He has worked in the courts for more than 15 years serving in Georgia, Nevada, and the District of Columbia. Mr. BeMent serves on the NCSC Board of Directors representing the National Association for Court Management.

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Tennessee

Jeffrey S. Bivins is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, where he has served since 2014. Prior, he was judge at the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and the Circuit Court Judge for the 21st Judicial District. Justice Bivins is a member of the Board of Directors of the Conference of Chief Justices and the immediate past President of the Tennessee Judicial Conference. He also served on the Board of Judicial Conduct and its predecessor, the Court of the Judiciary.

Managing Counsel, Litigation Exxon Mobil Corporation

Daniel E. Bolia has been Counsel in the ExxonMobil Corporate and Compliance Law group in Dallas, Texas since July 2018. He also worked in the Corporate Litigations and Investigations group in Houston, working primarily on climate change litigation and investigations. Prior to joining ExxonMobil in 2015, Mr. Bolia held positions as a Senior Litigation Associate at the law firm Skadden Arps and in property and casualty claims for Nationwide Insurance.

Vice President & General Counsel (retired), Johnson & Johnson

Russell C. Deyo served as Vice President & General Counsel at Johnson & Johnson, where he worked for 27 years, with positions such as general counsel and vice president of administration and as a member of the Johnson & Johnson executive committee. He retired in 2012 but came out of retirement to become Under Secretary for Management at the Department of Homeland Security in 2015, overseeing the department’s management programs. He then became Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security in 2016. Mr. Deyo is a past member of the NCSC Board of Directors.

Director, Department of Public Safety, St. Louis, Missouri

Jimmie M. Edwards is a former Administrative Judge of the Family Court and Chief Juvenile Court Judge in St. Louis, Missouri. He now serves as Director of the Department of Public Safety, St. Louis. Judge Edwards joined the NCSC Board of Directors in August 2017.

Administrative Director, Judicial Council of California

Martin Hoshino has been the Administrative Director at the Judicial Council of California since 2014. Prior, Mr. Hoshino served in various leadership capacities at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He played a central role in Public Safety Realignment reforms to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons. Mr. Hoshino joined the Board of Directors for COSCA in 2019.

Senior Director, Safety and Justice, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Yolanda Lewis is the Senior Director for Safety and Justice at the Pew Charitable Trusts. She is the former District Court Administrator for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, where she designed initiatives in judicial administration, court and case management, civil justice, alternative sentencing, mental health, and justice reinvestment. Prior, she served as a faculty member for Michigan State University’s Judicial Administration program, vice president of the National Association for Court Management, founding member of the Fulton County Smart Justice Advisory Council, and president of the Georgia Council of Court Administrators.

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Michigan

Bridget Mary McCormack has served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan since 2019, having joined the Court in 2013. As Chief Justice, McCormack has promoted statewide initiatives devoted to improving the courts’ service to the public, including, for example, the Elder Abuse Task Force, launched together with the Attorney General. She is also a former law professor and dean at the University of Michigan Law School; and, since joining the Court, Chief Justice McCormack continues to teach at the Law School.

President, National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Virginia

Mary C. McQueen has served as the President of the National Center for State Courts since 2004. Prior positions include Washington State Court Administrator from 1987-2004 and Director of Judicial Services for the Washington State Office of the Administrator for the Courts, 1979-1987, president of the Conference of State Court Administrators in 1995-96, and chair of the Lawyer’s Committee of the American Bar Association/Judicial Division.

Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology, The University of Chicago

Dr. Nussbaum has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology. He is Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology at The University of Chicago and Director of the Chicago Center for Practical Wisdom. He also served as director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. His research areas include Wisdom, language use, learning, working memory, understanding, cognitive neuropharmacology, cognitive engineering and human factors. He edited five books on topics ranging from mechanisms of perception to psychophysiology to wise reasoning and published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles.

Professor, Department of Psychology, Rice University

Dr. Oswald is a professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology and holds the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences at Rice University, where he is also Director of Graduate Studies. Having authored numerous publications on organizational & workforce psychology, he recently co-edited the book Workforce Readiness and the Future of Work. He serves on ten editorial boards and is associate editor for the “Journal of Applied Psychology” and “Advances in Methods and Practice in Psychological Science (AMPPS).” Fred Oswald chairs the National Academy of Science (NAS) Board on Human Systems Integration (BOHSI) and is a member of the APA Board of Scientific Affairs.

Ciresi Conlin LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Kathleen Flynn Peterson is Partner with Ciresi Conlin LLP, where her practice focuses on medical negligence cases. She has obtained numerous high-dollar settlements and jury awards on behalf of her clients and was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 1995. She is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Attorneys, the International Society of Barristers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Foundation. She is past president of the American Association for Justice and currently co-chairs the NCSC Lawyers Committee. Ms. Peterson joined the NCSC Board of Directors in August 2019.

Judge, Queens Criminal Court,  Kew Gardens, New York

Judge Serita is a limited jurisdiction trial court judge serving the New York City Criminal Court in Queens County, New York. She presides over the Human Trafficking Intervention Court as well as the drug treatment and mental health courts in Queens. She has chaired the New York State Judicial Committee on Human Trafficking since 2015. Judge Serita joined the NCSC Board of Directors in 2018. She is a former co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and was the Citywide Chair of the Gender Fairness Committee of the New York City Criminal Court.

Administrative Director, Office of Court Administration, Texas

David Slayton has served as Administrative Director for the Texas Office of Court Administration, and executive director of the Texas Judicial Council since 2012. He has been employed by the judicial branch in various roles for almost 20 years, including a position as the Director of Court Administration for the Lubbock County District Courts and County Courts at Law. Mr. Slayton is past president of the National Association for Court Management and was secretary on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association for Drug Court Professionals.