Former Senator and U.S. attorney for Alabama Doug Jones will be among five legal luminaries honored for helping to uphold the rule of law when The National Judicial College (NJC) celebrates its 60th anniversary at an event in Miami later this month.
Based in Reno, Nevada, the NJC is the country’s oldest, largest and most widely attended school for judges. Each year it educates judges from all 50 states. The categories of judges it serves, including state trial, administrative law, military and tribal, decide more than 95 percent of cases in this country.
Jones is counsel at the law firm of ArentFox Schiff in Washington, D.C., and a distinguished senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. He represented Alabama in the Senate from 2018 to 2021. In the early 2000s, he successfully prosecuted two members of the Ku Klux Klan for their roles in the 1963 white supremacist terrorist bombing of a Birmingham church that left four Black girls dead. In 2022 he guided Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson through the nomination and Senate confirmation process for the Biden administration.
In 2023, the judicial college is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding with six special programs from coast to coast. The first took place in January in Los Angeles. Each is organized around a justice-related theme. For the Miami event, April 27, the theme is “Justice for All…Upholding the Rule of Law.”
At the Miami event, Jones will be one of five individuals to receive the College’s Making the World a More Just Place Award. After the award ceremony, there will be a panel discussion among the five, moderated by Miami attorney Edward Blumberg, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.
The other honorees are:
Judge Rosemary Barkett
Judge Barkett has been a member of the Iran–United States Claims Tribunal located in The Hague, Netherlands, since 2013 and previously served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Prior to her nomination for that post, she was Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
Judge DeAndrea Gist Benjamin
In February of this year Judge Benjamin was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. She previously served 12 years as a judge of the South Carolina Circuit Court for the 5th Circuit and for seven years before that on the bench of the City of Columbia (South Carolina) Municipal Court.
Judge Thomas B. Griffith
Formerly a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Griffith is special counsel at Hunton Andrews Kurth. He was a member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States and a co-author of “Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Biden Won and Trump Lost the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Solicitor General Neal Katyal
A former acting solicitor general of the United States, Mr. Katyal is a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. By the time of the Miami event, he will have likely argued his 50th case before the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a familiar face on cable news programs and has played himself on Netflix’s “House of Cards” and Showtime’s “Billions.”
Moderator Edward Blumberg is a founder and partner in the Miami trial law firm of Deutsch Blumberg & Caballero, P.A., a past president of the Florida Bar, and a former member of the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar and the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association.
The overarching theme of the College’s 60th anniversary celebrations is “JUSTICE FOR ALL … Our Pledge for 60 Years.”
“Nothing is more important in a democracy than preserving the rule of law, and nothing is more critical to preserving the rule of law than having the most competent, well-trained, diverse judiciary overseeing the cases that are argued and decided under our complex system of laws,” said Hon. Benes Aldana (Ret.), former chief trial judge of the U.S. Coast Guard and president of the College since 2017.
“For over 60 years, The National Judicial College has carried out its central mission of improving the administration of justice by providing best-in-its-class training and continuing education to judges across the country and internationally. It is our strong belief that a highly trained judiciary, steeped in the law as it evolves and develops, is the best way to protect our democracy.”
The NJC’s remaining anniversary programs will be held later this year in New York City, Seattle, Las Vegas, and in the College’s headquarters city of Reno, Nevada.