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June 2008

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Tacha Wins Devitt Award

Judge Deanell Reece Tacha (10th Cir.) has been selected to receive the 26th Annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award. The award, administered by the American Judicature Society, honors Article III judges whose careers have been exemplary, measured by their contributions to the administration of justice, the advancement of the rule of law, and the improvement of society as a whole. Tacha was chosen by a three-member panel chaired by Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. with panel members Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica (3rd Cir.) and Judge Mark R. Kravitz (D. Conn.)

Tacha’s nomination drew over 70 letters of support. In his nomination letter, Judge John W. Lungstrum (D. Kan.) said, “there is no criterion by which a nominee could be evaluated concerning which Judge Tacha does not excel: ‘Sparkling intellect,’ ‘excellent juris,’ ‘spectacular’ chief judge, ‘wise’ decision-maker, ‘go-to’ public servant, inspirational mentor, and role model. It is fair to say few other judges have ever served in such a wide range of leadership positions in our profession. If there has been a call to service, Judge Tacha has always answered it.”

From 2001 to 2005, Tacha served as chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Judicial Branch. She was a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 1994 to 1998. She chaired the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association from 1995 to 1996 and has been a national Trustee of the American Inns of Court Foundation since 2000. Tacha served as chief judge of the Tenth Circuit from 2001 to 2007.

Prior to joining the federal bench in 1985, she was in private practice in Kansas, served on the faculty at the University of Kansas School of Law, and also was Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University.

“Judge Tacha, through her many contributions to the federal Judiciary and the bar, not only meets but exceeds the standards established by this Award,” said Alito in announcing the award winner. “These invaluable contributions have brought, and continue to bring, great honor to our profession. Judge Tacha is a most exceptional woman whose selection brings heightened esteem to this Award.”

The Devitt Award is named for the late Edward J. Devitt, long-time chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.