#4 | Nov 2023

The Federal Judges Association Newsletter

The Bench Press

Hello Colleagues!

President's Message

Dear Federal Judges Association (FJA) Members:

The leaves are falling; the weather is changing; November is officially here. For many, November is a month to spend time with family and friends in celebration of Thanksgiving.

November is also a time in which we honor the veterans who have served in our nation’s armed forces.

We extend special acknowledgement to all of our colleagues who are veterans. Thank you for your service to our country.

New Member Highlight

The FJA Welcomes

Judge Holly Teeter

The FJA Celebrates the Appointment of Judge Holly Teeter to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.

Judge Teeter received a B.S. with highest distinction from the University of Kansas, where she majored in chemical engineering. She then earned a Diploma in Legal Studies from the University of Oxford, before returning to the University of Kansas School of Law. She graduated first in her class after being a member of The University of Kansas Law Review and inducted into the Order of the Coif. 

She used her technical background to practice patent law at Los Alamos National Security LLC for a year after graduating from law school. She mainly counseled inventors and prosecuted patent applications for inventors at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. She then practiced for four years at Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, where she defended corporations in patent litigation, which included assisting a trial team in a three-week patent infringement jury trial.

For the next five years, Judge Teeter served as a law clerk, first to Judge Carlos Murguia on the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, and then to Judge Brian C. Wimes on the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

After her clerkships, United States Attorney Tammy Dickinson hired her to serve as a Civil Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. From 2016 until her appointment, she defended civil claims against the United States and federal employees sued in their individual capacities.

Apart from her practice, she was involved with various organizations, including the Catholic Education Foundation of Northeast Kansas and Friends of Adoption.

President Trump nominated Teeter to the District Court for the District of Kansas to fill a seat vacated by Judge Kathryn H. Vratil. She was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote on August 1, 2018, and received her commission two days later.

Senator Jerry Moran applauded her nomination saying, “Ms. Teeter is one of the brightest young legal minds in our state. Her wide variety of legal experiences make her an excellent choice for the bench.” Senator Pat Roberts added that she “is educated as a chemical engineer and has utilized her scientific expertise to help establish rules governing patent law cases.”

Judge Brian C. Wimes said of his former law clerk: Judge Teeter has established a reputation for making well-reasoned and just decisions, since taking the bench. She demonstrates an understanding of complex legal issues, particularly in the area of intellectual property cases.”

Judge Daniel D. Crabtree, her colleague on the bench, added: “Judge Teeter has earned the respect of our trial bar. She comes to court well-prepared, she’s thorough, and really, really smart. And Holly is an outstanding colleague and valued friend.”

Judge Teeter reflected on her five years by saying: “It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the public as a district judge for the last five years. This job is challenging but always interesting. And I sincerely appreciate all the people who help me carry out my duties.”

We welcome Judge Teeter to the FJA.

Committee Updates

Our committees have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks. Here are some highlights of their accomplishments!

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Chairs: Leo Gordon and Dan Polster


Chair: Albert Diaz

Joint Report

As you should be aware, as a result of legislation enacted last year, judges are required to file not only an annual Financial Disclosure Report (due by May 15 each year) but also periodic reports regarding purchases and sales (and other acquisitions and dispositions) of certain classes of securities within 30 or 45 days of the transaction or notice of the transaction. After that requirement was enacted, the FJA urged the Judicial Conference and the AO to provide additional financial assistance to help judges comply with the requirements, keeping with our commitment to protect the interests of our members and the federal judiciary at large.

The Benefits and Compensation and Judicial Ethics Committees are pleased to announce that the Judicial Conference has authorized the reimbursement of professional fees up to $1,685 for preparing a judiciary financial disclosure report filed on or after January 1, 2024. This is almost $200 more than was previously authorized. This increased limit for an annual or final report includes fees for preparing periodic transaction reports for transactions occurring on or after January 1, 2024, which are reportable in the annual or final report.

While modest in amount, this increase is a helpful step. Compliance with the financial disclosure requirements may seem onerous to many judges, but it is required by law.

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Chair: Mary Scriven

The Communications Committee hopes you enjoy the new, more dynamic format of our newsletter, The Bench Press. Once again we highlight one of our new members. See the highlight on Judge Holly Teeter. Additionally, we are always looking for new content for the website, including accomplishments of our members. Please forward any such content to our Communications Chair, Mary Scriven, and we will be sure to include it in the Members Only Section of the website. Also, all of the recorded “Thirst for Knowledge” programs are cataloged on the website and are available for your review for a limited time. Just logon here - federaljudgesassoc.org and go to the Members Only and scroll down to the program of interest to you.


Chair: Robin Rosenbaum

October was a busy month for Civics & Service. 

We held two Clerkship Chat programs, which are panels on clerking that we hold at law schools that traditionally do not send many students to federal clerkships. Both programs were a tremendous success that were well-attended by students. For the first program, held at Texas A&M School of Law, we want to thank Circuit Judge Cory Wilson, of the Fifth Circuit, who coordinated the program and served as its moderator; and Circuit Judge Dana Douglas, of the Fifth Circuit; District Judge Kristi Johnson, of the Southern District of Mississippi, and District Judge Mark Pittman, of the Northern District of Texas, who served as panelists. And from Texas A&M, we thank Dean Arturo Errisuriz of the Office of Career Services and Professor Meg Penrose, the Clerkship Coordinator. For the second program, held at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, we want to thank District Judge Lauren King, of the Western District of Washington, for coordinating the program; District Judge Robert Lasnik, of the Western District of Washington, for moderating; and Circuit Judge Roopali Desai, of the Ninth Circuit; District Judge Maame Frimpong, of the Central District of California; and Magistrate Judge Sheila Oberto, of the Eastern District of California, for serving as panelists. We also appreciate the efforts of Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Tamara Herrera and Jenn Sanchez, Executive Assistant to Dean Stacy Leeds, at ASU.

The Naturalization Civics Challenge also remains underway. Information on how students can participate is available on the FJA website. If you have contacts at any high schools, we’d be grateful if you passed the link along to them: https://www.federaljudgesassoc.org/federal-judges-association-civics-challenge/


And finally, we continue to gratefully accept submissions for the FJA’s Speech Bank, which members can use as a starting place when they need to give speeches. The Speech Bank has speeches covering a variety of topics.

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Hispanic Heritage Month Program a resounding success!


Chairs: Pam Pepper and Leo Gordon

The FJA Education Committee presented two programs in October. On October 10, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, FJA members Esther Salas (D. New Jersey) and Marina Garcia Marmolejo (S.D. Texas) held a candid and wide-ranging conversation about everything from being a “first” to reacting to discrimination to imposter syndrome to the use of colored pens as case organization tools. Judges Salas and Marmolejo are long-time friends and colleagues (they were Baby Judge classmates), and their intimate conversation gave FJA members a chance to “eavesdrop” on an intelligent, thoughtful discussion of issues that are important to all of us. Like all Education Committee programs, this one was recorded; the recording is available on the FJA website Members Only section - Webinars link. It’s only an hour; substitute the video for your favorite podcast or radio show or audio book.

The second program took place on October 19. This was the Education Committee’s second "Thirst for Knowledge" program. Dr. Diana Uchiyama, director of the Illinois Lawyers Assistance Program, is both a lawyer and a clinical psychologist. She gave a fascinating and passionate presentation designed especially for judges. Dr. Uchiyama explained the physiology of both mental illness and stress, gave practical tips for how judges can avoid ‘adding fuel to the fire’ when a litigant struggles with mental health issues and gave heartfelt advice to judges on how to monitor their own stress levels and to take care of themselves. Dr. Uchiyama’s presentation was recorded. FJA members can logon to the website and watch at their convenience - Thirst For Knowledge webinar link. You will find the presentation insightful and helpful—please watch!

November is Native American Heritage Month. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 10:00 PST/11:00 MST/12:00 CST/1:00 EST. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, four of our colleagues—Judge Diane Humetewa (D. Arizona), Judge Ada Brown (N.D. Texas), Judge Lauren King (W.D. Washington) and Judge Sunshine Sykes (C.D. California)—will be sharing their experiences being Native American judicial nominees and judges. While Judge Humetewa has been on the bench since 2014, Judges Brown, King and Sykes took the bench in the last four years. This program will give members a chance to learn a bit more about newer colleagues as well as to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. More information about how to join the program will be forthcoming.

Finally, the Education Committee has a special treat planned for December’s “Thirst for Knowledge" program. Wondering what wines (alcoholic or non, sparkling or still) to serve at your holiday celebrations? Henry “Hank” Zona—a self-professed “wine geek”—has the answers. Along with Valerie Stivers, Hank has written articles for Amanda Hesser’s “Food52” site and he writes on wine for “Jersey’s Best” magazine. You can find him on Instagram at @thegrapesunwrapped. Details and the date and time will be forthcoming. 

If you have ideas for "Thirst for Knowledge" program topics, please share them by sending an email to either [email protected] or [email protected]

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Chair: Nannette Brown

  • Total Members  – 1095

New Members

  • Judge Andre Birotte Jr. – Central District of California
  • Judge Myong Joun – District of Massachusetts
  • Judge Nusrat Jahan Choudhury – Eastern District of New York
  • Judge Jessica G. L. Clarke – Southern District of New York
  • Judge Wesley L. Hsu – Central District of California

Newly Appointed Judges 

  • Judge Philip S. Hadji – Federal Claims
  • Judge Vernon D. Oliver – District of Connecticut
  • Judge Rita F. Lin – Northern District of California
  • Judge Jeffrey Irving Cummings – Northern District of Illinois
  • Judge Jennifer L. Hall – District of Delaware
  • Judge Julia Kathleen munley – Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • Judge Brenda Abell Hurson – District of Maryland
  • Judge Susan Kim DeClercq – Eastern District of Michigan


In Remembrance

As we celebrate these new members and newly appointed judges, let us also remember and honor the lives of Judge Harold Albert Baker of the Central District of Illinois and Judge J. Frederick Motz of the District of Maryland who recently passed away.

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Chairs: Larry Piersol and Jim Carr

On October 16 AO Staff stated: “The agenda item on the senior judge staffing strategic budget initiative will be released to the Judicial Resources Committee members after it has gone through the AO’s agenda item clearance process including review and approval by the AO Director. (As of October 16), staff is hoping for its release the week of November 6.” Upon release, the Judicial Resources Committee will provide the AO staff release to the FJA Senior Judges Committee. The Senior Judges Committee plans to make a presentation on Senior Judge staffing issues to the Judicial Resources Committee at 11:00 am on November 30.

Upcoming Events

The FJA’s Native American Heritage Month Program will take place on November 14, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. PST/11:00 a.m. MST/12:00 p.m. CST/1:00 p.m. EST.

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, four of our colleagues—Judge Diane Humetewa (D. Arizona), Judge Ada Brown (N.D. Texas), Judge Lauren King (W.D. Washington) and Judge Sunshine Sykes (C.D. California)—will be sharing their experiences being Native American judicial nominees and judges. While Judge Humetewa has been on the bench since 2014, Judges Brown, King and Sykes took the bench in the last four years. This program will give members a chance to learn a bit more about newer colleagues as well as to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

More information about how to join the program will be forthcoming.

Zoom Link - https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82315392749


The Federal Judges Association is greatly saddened by the tragic and senseless killing of Washington County, Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, who was shot outside of his home last Thursday in what law enforcement believes was a targeted attack after Judge Wilkinson granted custody of the suspect’s children to their mother. 

We are deeply troubled by yet another attack on a judge for simply doing the job that he was sworn to do. Judges stand at the forefront of protecting our constitutional rights and upholding our democratic process. If judges cannot make tough decisions without fear of reprisal, retribution, or death, an essential element of our democracy will be lost. In December 2022 Congress passed the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act to bolster efforts to protect members of the federal judiciary and safeguard the personally identifiable information of federal judges and their immediate families.

However, there are still over 30,000 state and local judges who are not covered by the federal legislation. While a few states have enacted laws to protect state and local judges, there are many states that have yet to enact legislation that would cover state and local judicial officers, as well as the federal judicial officers who sit in those states. It is time for us to unite in a state-by-state initiative to review where such laws exist, whether they are sufficient as is, and whether they could be amplified to provide additional securities. 

We are looking for volunteers to assist us in this initiative by assessing whether the states in which their districts sit have laws in place to protect judges, and if so, whether those laws provide sufficient protection for judges. 

President Judge J. Michel Childs Receives

Distinguished Alumni Award

University of South Florida

October 12, 2023

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WHAT: A special Holiday "Thirst for Knowledge" program that will prepare you to entertain guests at any holiday function!


WHERE: Zoom link to follow

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WHAT: FJA 2024 Board Meeting

WHEN: April 17 - 19, 2024

WHERE: The Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile

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WHAT: The FJA has partnered with the National Judicial College to join them for a seminar and conference in Portugal

WHEN: September 9-12, 2024

WHERE: Portuguese Center for Judicial Studies

More information to follow. Please join us!

J. Michelle Childs


Mary Scriven

Communications Committee Chair