I would like to wish each of you a belated happy New Year. While we all have our hopes for this coming year (maybe less snow if you live in the South or more snow if you live in the West), my expectation for NAFUSA is really more of the same.
We continue to enjoy the warm collegiality and personal relationships that stem from our common professional history but which grow each year. We share a deep respect for the position and role of the United States Attorney and the Department of Justice. We support the laws and the Constitution of the United States, not just because we took an oath to do so, but because we know that the rule of law serves to advance and protect our rights and our nation. We share a common desire to not let our political differences interfere with our willingness to engage in rational discourse and debate. In short, we are a welcome oasis in this era of partisan gridlock and sound bites.
All of these qualities were on full display in our annual conference last Fall in Washington, D.C. Jay Stephens steady leadership culminated in what may have been our best ever conference. The programs were substantive and varied, with fantastic panelists. (How could we ever top a panel on the Supreme Court with Ted Olson and Carter Phillips, moderated by Pete Williams?)
The day of golf yielded the usual laughs and slices. The food and drinks from the scenic Jones Day rooftop was plentiful. Our “Day at Justice” with DOJ leadership was informative and inspiring. And, the boat ride benefited from great weather and my grandson taking his turn at the wheel.
Of course, the annual conference and the success of our organization were made possible because of the terrific work of our Executive Director Rich Rossman. We owe Rich (and Patty Rossman) our thanks for a job very well done.
We have begun planning for our next annual conference in Boston, October 9-11, 2014. It will be at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, a beautiful and old hotel in Back Bay which has undergone a major renovation. You will love its grandeur and location.
I am very much looking forward to welcoming you to Boston. Our city has gone through highs and lows over the past year. Indeed, the hotel is a block from the Marathon bombing sites and a mile or so from Fenway Park, the home of the World Champion Red Sox. In both instances, the strong spirit and grit of the people of Boston has helped us through this period. I know you will enjoy visiting this wonderful, walkable, and historic city. Indeed, since we are meeting over Columbus Day Weekend, you might consider planning a few extra days to see the Fall foliage in New England.
(Hear Stern interviewed on NPR about the AG’s decision to pursue the death penalty in the Boston bombing case.)
We will do our best to equal the professional and social offerings of last year’s DC conference. At the very least, you will have an opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Please check out our newsletter and website for current information about our members and about the conference. Sign up to attend when we open registration, pay your current dues and actively encourage others to join you. The Board meets in June to advance the planning of the conference, talk about ways to expand our membership and continue to keep us on a firm financial footing. Click to review a list of committee assignments for 2014 [pdf]. Please stay involved in this unique organization.
Donald K. Stern