Judge Denise Langford Morris Travels to Morocco

"Chief Justice of Morocco, Mostafa Faress, presented me with a beautiful painting of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the most fabulous King celebration I have ever attended," said Judge Denise Langford Morris, Chair of the U.S. National Bar Association Judicial Council and proud member of the Renaissance (MI) Links Chapter.

 

THE ARTICLE BELOW WAS TAKEN FROM A JANUARY 21, 2014 FEATURE IN THE ATLANTIC POST

RABAT, Morocco – The occasion of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is both a national U.S. holiday and occasion for international groups to foster cooperation based on shared objectives.

The Morocco Supreme Court and U.S. National Bar Association (NBA) joined January 20 for a week-long program dedicated to sharing each country’s judicial traditions and legal values.

By invitation of Morocco King Mohammed VI, the NBA Judicial Council held its annual winter meeting in Rabat, Morocco and hosted the group at its own Supreme Court, the High Court of Cassation.

“As judges throughout America and as African-Americans, we look forward to sharing legal concepts and ideas while examining judicial reform as recently implemented in Morocco,” said Judge Denise Langford Morris, Chair of the NBA Judicial Council.

“We look forward to discovering together the essence of the rule of law and the foundation of an independent judiciary while rendering transparent perspectives of law and justice.”

Scholar and keynote speaker Dr. Ahmed Abbadi said that Dr. Martin Luther King’s “dream” is “our dream too.” He congratulated the visiting judges for bringing “greatness and beauty to the U.S. through their work and sacrifice.”

Abbadi and Judge Morris both spoke of the importance of recognizing racial and ethnic differences while embracing them. “We believe each ethnic group should accept itself,” said Judge Yvette Bansfield Alexander of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“Morocco and Black America working together on  judicial reforms” was the motto of the week-long conference held in Rabat and Marrakech, Morocco. “We are back on African soil,” declared Judge Denise Langford Morris, Judicial Council Chair.

Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Morocco Mostafa Faress welcomed the group, saying, “You are welcome here in your second country. This is a new time in Morocco-U.S. relations when the connection is strengthening on all levels. The two countries are linked by the Atlantic and a relationship based on trust and mutual cooperation.”

This week’s project is intended as a forum for judicial cooperation and sharing of legal frameworks and values “in tune with international conventions,” Justice Faress said.  ”This joint legacy of centuries of friendship between people like you is continued with this next step of cooperation.”

The rapid increase in the number of black judges in the United States prompted the coordination of a separate judicial body within the National Bar Association. With the cooperation of the National Bar Foundation and financial assistance from the Ford Foundation, and in response to considerable interest expressed by the NBA judges in cities around the country, the Judicial Council was organized in 1971.

The Judicial Council is an independent section of the National Bar Association. “Foremost among its objectives is the eradication of racial and class bias from every aspect of the judicial and law enforcement process.”

The Council reiterated these objectives in Rabat yesterday, stating that “our bench will always be prepared to define its values and accepts its responsibilities, to make meaningful progress towards making “Equal Justice Under Law” a reality for all.

The group renewed its pledge: “Let us remove the blindfold from the eyes of American Justice. Historically, it obscured the unequal treatment according poor people and black people under the law.”

Council members recommitted to “fighting for equal justice under the laws of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and thereby continue the legacy of our Founders.” They pledged to “eradicate racism and classism from the judicial process and improve public confidence in our courts.”

“We will share our unique experience as black Americans and as judges in our great country,” said Judge Morris.

A stirring video presentation filmed to the African-American gospel song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” featured prominent black Americans such as President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as late South African President Nelson Mandela.

Scholar and keynote speaker Dr. Ahmed Abbadi said that Dr. Martin Luther King’s “dream” is “our dream too.” He congratulated the visiting judges for bringing “greatness and beauty to the U.S. through their work and sacrifice.”

Abbadi and Judge Morris both spoke of the importance of recognizing racial and ethnic differences while embracing them. “We believe each ethnic group should accept itself,” said Judge Yvette Bansfield Alexander of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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