In the past, I have written about the annual Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI). The most recent was held in Atlanta last November. I write about it now not to make you heartsick that you missed it and insanely jealous of those who made it, but to convince you to plan to attend next year. It will be held in the District of Columbia November 14-17, 2019 and will be a knockout. Mark your calendars accordingly.
AJEI 2018 was was one for the books. The program committee, led by Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Chris McFadden, chose to take advantage of host city Atlanta’s rich history in the civil rights movement. The keynote speaker was former UN Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who provided insights into the coalitions he built both as a civil rights leader and later to turn Atlanta into the business powerhouse we see today. A later panel addressed the self-sacrificial work done by federal judges such as John Minor Wisdom, Elbert Tuttle, and Frank Johnson. Those wanting more attended an exclusive evening reception at the Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum.
We also heard Dean Erwin Chemerinsky give another of his legendary reviews of the latest batch of civil and criminal opinions from the US Supreme Court. How he manages to analyze and discuss these cases for almost two hours without notes and without being boring is a mystery to me, but AJEI regulars grab seats up front before his presentations begin.
I won’t go through the entire program, but it was three days of appellate goodness. With the possible exception of the North Carolina-focused appellate practice CLE put on by the Appellate Practice Section, no other appellate CLE comes close to AJEI in terms of program quality or the experience of both attendees and presenters.
A number of other unrelated conventions were going on in Atlanta at the same time so the hotels were full. As I walked through the lobby of the AJEI hotel, I noticed a gentleman reading “The Most Dangerous Branch.” I couldn’t tell whether he was an AJEI attendee or just soaking up the zeitgeist.
You need to join the fun next year. While the program details are still being set, Dean Chemerinsky has committed to present again. The major evening reception will be held in the United States Supreme Court building, where a Supreme Court justice or two may be persuaded to join the festivities. Because Washington is such a target-rich environment for those seeking speakers and presenters of interest to appellate practitioners, AJEI 2019 is a lead pipe cinch to be a winner. And you can be there.