Constitution & Bylaws
ARTICLE I: NAME, PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
SECTION I: NAME
The name of the organization is the National Judges Association (N.J.A.).
SECTION 2: PURPOSE
The N.J.A. is an association of Judges of Limited Jurisdiction with the primary purpose of serving as a forum for its members.
SECTION 3: GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
A. To serve as an advocate for supporting and securing a place for non attorney judges in the judicial system;
B. To coordinate and establish criteria for continued training and education programs and provide materials and resources that meet the needs of its members and improves the administration of justice;
C. To improve public opinion by educating the public on the role of the non-attorney judge and raise public awareness about the judiciary system;
D. To promote the concept that the laws should be comprehensive to all persons;
E. To identify deficiencies in the judiciary and address issues common to the entire membership body; and
F. To create a fellowship in a friendly and professional forum where members are provided an opportunity to exchange ideas, methods and experiences that enhance their judiciary skills.
ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP
SECTION I: MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY AND CATEGORIES
A. Member in Good Standing: A member in good standing is one whose dues are current and is not under suspension for any reason. A Member not in good standing has no voting rights.
B. Regular Member: A judge who is a member in good standing and who supports N.J.A.’s purpose and goals or is a former member that left a judicial position for any reason other than malfeasance or incompetence.
C. Associate Member: A member in good standing who supports N.J.A.’s purpose is recommended by the Membership Committee and approved the Executive committee. An Associate Member has all the rights and privileges of a regular member except the right to vote.
D. Organizational Member: Any state, region, or national organizations whose members qualify for membership and are approved by the Executive Committee. An Organizational member has all the rights and privileges of a regular member except the right to vote.
E. Inactive Member: A member suspended for failure to pay current annual dues.
SECTION II: MEMBERSHIP DUES
A. Annual dues are based on the member’s annual judicial salary and will be determined by a vote of the membership at the annual meeting.
B. Dues not paid within 90 days of the expiration of the fiscal year are delinquent and membership will be suspended.
ARTICLE III: SANCTION OF MEMBERS
SECTION I: AUTOMATIC EXPULSION AND SUSPENSION
A. A member convicted of a felony is subject to automatic expulsion. In the event the conviction is later reversed, membership may be restored by recommendation of the Executive Committee.
B. A member who is properly notified by the Executive Director that the member’s dues remain unpaid at the end of the fiscal year shall have all rights and privileges suspended.
SECTION II: IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
A. A member whose actions are contrary to the policies and objectives of the N.J.A. or whose conduct is detrimental to the association shall be entitled to a hearing in accordance with the By-Laws.
1. The hearing shall be held before the membership at any regular or special meeting provided a quorum is present.
2. The hearing shall be conducted as a criminal trial and grant the accused the same rights and due process as in any criminal trial.
3. A judge shall be appointed by the Council of State Representatives to preside over the hearing.
B. The Members present will serve as jurors and vote by secret ballot.
C. A two-thirds majority of the members present is required to impeach.
D. An accused member who refuses to go forward with a trial is subject to immediate expulsion and is not eligible for reinstatement.
ARTICLE IV: GOVERNMENT AND OFFICERS
The government of N.J.A. shall be vested in the Executive Committee, acting with the advice and consent of the Council of State Representatives.
SECTION I: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee consists of the President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary and immediate Past-President.
A. Only regular members of the N.J.A. may serve on this committee.
B. Members of the Executive Committee shall be residents of different states or government entities; each committee member may only represent one state.
C. No more than two members of the Executive Committee may be attorney judges admitted to any bar for the practice of law at any given time.
D. A quorum of the Executive Committee consists of three members.
SECTION II: COUNCIL OF STATE REPRESENTATIVES
The Council of State Representatives consists of one Member from each state or government entity with a regular member in N.J.A., plus the Executive Committee who are ex-officio members.
A. Only a Regular Member may serve as a Representative.
B. The President shall serve as Chairperson.
C. The immediate past President will serve as Vice-Chairman and Senior Representative.
D. The N.J.A. Secretary shall serve as the recording secretary.
E. If the Secretary is unavailable, the Chairperson will appoint a temporary recording secretary to perform the duties of the office.
F. A quorum of the Council of State Representatives consists of five (5) Representatives and ex-officio council members.
G. If a Representative or Alternate Representative of a state or government entity is absent from a meeting, the President may appoint an attending member from that state to represent the state of government entity.
H. Council Members shall establish policies governing the actions of the Council, the Executive Committee and all appointed Committees, and such policies shall conform to the requirements and intent of this Constitution.
I. Approves all expenditures by the association’s Executive Director/Treasurer, including their own expenses.
J. Monitors the performance of all Officers and Committees and addresses problems affecting the function of any office or committee, including the Executive Director/Treasurer.
K. May recommend and initiate the impeachment of any Officer.
1. The Council shall solicit the offending officer’s resignation in lieu of
2. If the officer willingly resigns, the Council shall accept the resignation in
lieu of impeachment proceedings.
3. A resignation from office results in immediate expulsion from
membership in the association.
SECTION III: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/TREASURER
The President may appoint a member who is eligible for membership and in good standing, as Executive Director/Treasurer with the consent of the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee may appoint an alternate Executive Director/Treasurer if approved by the N.J.A. Board.
1. Functions as the Administrative Officer and General Manager of the association:
a) Establishes and maintains N.J.A.’s central office;
b) Conducts the day-to-day business of the N.J.A.;
c) Performs duties as assigned by the Council of State Representatives;
2. Distributes and receives all membership applications;
3. Sends each member a written invoice for payment of membership year:
a) Sends past due notices notifying a member of delinquent dues;
b) Within sixty (60) days of the current fiscal year, shall send a list of
members with delinquent dues to the State and Alternate State Representatives;
c) Notifies each State and Alternate State Representative of a member’s
address change within thirty (30) days;
4. Attend all annual and special N.J.A. meetings, unless excused by the President;
5. Attend all Executive Committee and Council of State Representatives meetings and may participate in their deliberations, but is not a voting member of either group;
6. Provide each member with a current membership list, N.J.A. Constitution and By-Laws;
7. Provides notice all N.J.A. meeting, either in writing, by telephone or electronic means at least twenty (20) days prior to the event and as approved by the President;
8. Distributes a current copy of the N.J.A.’s complete membership list to all officers;
9. Maintains a current copy of the association’s Constitution, to be available at all meetings of the N.J.A., Executive Committee and Council of State Representatives;
10. Shall be bonded in an amount not less than N.J.A.’s anticipated maximum cash or negotiable assets and shall be reviewed and approved by the Council of State Representatives for payment by the association annually;
11. Maintains a single checking account in the name of the N.J.A. insured by the F.D.I.C.;
12. Disburses funds by check in a timely manner;
13. Maintains an accurate and complete written or electronic financial record of monies received and disbursed and all N.J.A. cash and assets possessed of the Executive Director/Treasurer;
14. Invests the association’s Surplus Funds in interest-bearing securities of the U.S. Government, in agencies or in other securities as approved by the Council of State Representatives;
15. Is responsible for ascertaining and satisfying any tax liability incurred by the N.J.A. and shall immediately notify the President of the liability and any action jeopardizing N.J.A.’s tax-exempt status;
16. Assists with the Finance Committee’s audit of N.J.A.’s financial and membership records and makes available to the Committee all required records of the association, including the record of checks draw, bank statements and notice of bank adjustments, that are permanent record maintained by the Treasurer;
17. Files all N.J.A.’s tax reports with the appropriate agencies and/or authorities;
18. Prepares a current Financial Statement with the date of the annual audit by a licensed C.P.A. or auditor and presents it at N.J.A.’s Annual Meeting for the preceding fiscal year, with a copy of the report provided to the Council of State Representatives and any member when requested;
19. Serves as a member of the Finance Committee:
a.) May appoint another N.J.A. member to serve as Deputy Treasurer with the approval of the President and Council of State Representatives;
b) The Deputy Treasurer may be appointed to assist the Treasurer in the collection, transport or safeguarding of the association’s monies or assets and shall work under the Treasurer;
20. An Alternate Executive Director/Treasurer may be appointed by the Executive Committee, with the approval of the Council of State Representatives.
A. Financial Audit: With the approval of the Executive Committee the President will appoint three members to meet with the Executive Director/Treasurer for the purpose of auditing the books and presenting a written Report, signed and dated by the committee, at the next annual meeting.
1. Shall not be required to pay conference fees;
2. May receive compensation as negotiated by the President and approved by the Council of State Representatives and may include travel and housing expenses when attending N.J.A. meetings or functions;
3. Employment contract or tenure agreement between the N.J.A. and Executive Director/Treasurer shall allow for early termination of said contract by the N.J.A. upon payment of an agreed severance settlement.
C. Vacancy: If the Executive Director/Treasurer cannot fulfill the duties of the office, the Executive Committee may appoint an alternate to assume those duties if approved by the N.J.A. Council of State Representatives.
SECTION IV: PRESIDENT
1. Chief Executive officer of the N.J.A. and Chairperson and presiding officer of the Council of State Representatives:
a) Schedules and presides over at least two Council of State Representative meetings each calendar year;
b) One Council of State Representatives meeting held at or within thirty (30) days of the annual meeting will count toward the above requirement;
2. Presides over N.J.A.’s Annual Membership Meeting;
3. Schedules and presides over the Executive Committee as the President deems necessary and at least two Council of Representatives meetings each year;
4. Ensures that written or verbal notice to all participating parties at least five (5) days prior to the meeting, unless the time limitation is expressly waived by each affected officer or director;
5. Establishes special committees when necessary for the benefit and welfare of the N.J.A.;
6. Appoints members and chairpersons to the standing and special committees as listed in Article VII;
7. Appoints the Chaplain, Sergeant-At-Arms, Historian and Parliamentarian to serve until the next Annual Membership Meeting, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee;
8. Assigns related responsibilities to any officer, Representative or member of a committee;
9. Appoints a Regular Member to fill vacancies on the Executive Committee and Council of State Representatives;
1. If the President is absent or unable to perform the duties of the office, the President-Elect assumes all responsibilities and performs all duties of the office except as listed in Article IV, Section IV.
2. If the office becomes vacant the President-Elect immediately assumes the duties of the office until the next Annual Membership Meeting, unless removed from office in accordance with Article III.
SECTION V: PRESIDENT-ELECT
1. Attends all Council of State Representatives, Executive Committee and N.J.A. meetings;
2. Performs other duties assigned by the President or the Council of State Representatives;
3. Sets the date and place of the Fall Meeting of the Council of State Representatives and makes all necessary preparations therefore, assisted by the Executive Director/Representative;
B. Vacancy: If the President-Elect is absent or unable to perform the duties of the office, the Vice-President assumes all responsibilities and duties of the office.
SECTION VI: VICE-PRESIDENT
1. Attends all meetings of the Council of State Representatives, the Executive Committee and all regular meetings of the N.J.A.
2. Performs duties assigned by the President or the Council of State Representatives;
B. Vacancy: If the Vice-President is absent or unable to perform the duties of the office, the President shall appoint a member to assume all responsibilities and the duties of the office.
SECTION VII: SECRETARY
1. Performs duties assigned by the Council of State Representatives;
2. Attends annual and special N.J.A. meetings, unless excused by the President;
3. Is a member of the Executive Committee and attends all meetings of the Executive Committee and Council of State Representatives;
4. Maintains a full and complete record of all general meetings of the N.J.A., the Executive Committee and Council of State Representatives meetings, unless specifically relieved therefrom by the Present;
5. Enters all records in the designated section of the permanent Minutes Book within twenty (20) days of any meeting;
6. One Minutes Book may be used with separate sections for the N.J.A. meetings, Executive Committee meeting and the Council of State Representatives meeting;
B. Vacancy: In the Secretary’s absence the President appoints a temporary Secretary to perform the duties of the office.
SECTION VIII: SENIOR REPRESENTATIVE
The immediate Past-President serves as the Senior Representative. Each Past-President, who is a -regular member until their resignation, is an Ex-Officio non-voting member of the Council of State Representatives serving under the direction of the President.
1. Presides over the Council of State Representatives meetings in the President’s absence;
2. Must be a voting member of the Executive Committee;
3. Serves as Chairperson of the Nominating Committee;
SECTION IX: STATE REPRESENTATIVE
A. Election: State Representatives are elected by the member’s own state for a two (2) year term:
1. Representatives may be elected prior to the Annual Membership Meeting by N.J.A. members in their state by the majority vote of that state’s members providing that all N.J.A. members of that state or government entity are properly notified of the time, place and date of the election;
a) If the state’s or government entity’s members agree, the Representative
shall arrange for the election to take place in the state or governmental
b) The Delegation from each state of government entity with an impending vacancy on the Council of State Representatives shall submit to the Chairperson of the Nomination Committee the name of the member elected by their prospective state or government entity to be their State Representative;
c) A Regular Member of the nominee’s state or government entity may challenge the election and the dispute shall be referred to that state’s or government entity’s delegation for settlement.
2. Representative from the following even-numbered state and government entities shall be elected in even-numbers years and the Representatives from the odd-numbered state and government entities shall be elected in odd numbered years
STATE AND GOVERNMENT ENTITIES IDENTIFICATION TABLE
#29 New Hampshire
#30 New Jersey
#31 New Mexico
#32 New York
#33 North Carolina
#34 North Dakota
#39 Rhode Island
#40 South Carolina
#41 South Dakota
$48 West Virginia
#51 District of Columbia
#52 Territories U.S.
#53 Tribal Entities
NOTE: The above numbers are assigned ONLY for the purpose of identifying and designating Odd and Even numbered states and government entities. It is NOT the intention of the N.J.A. to use or assign these numbers as any sort of ranking system and none shall be implied.
1. Attends all members of the Council of State Representatives and annual conference;
2. Ex-officio head of the State Representative’s own state’s or government entity’s delegation until such time that another member is elected or appointed to assume the responsibility of the office;
3. Performs all duties delegated by the President and Council of State Representatives.
ARTICLE V: APPOINTED OFFICERS
SECTION I: CHAPLAIN
1. Gives the invocation before the association when requested and appropriate;
2. Offers prayers and condolences to a member’s family in the event of the member’s death or the death of a member’s immediate family;
3. Sends condolences in matters as deemed necessary on behalf of the N.J.A.
SECTION II: SERGEANT OF ARMS
1. Ensures the U.S. flag is properly displayed at all N.J.A. meetings;
2. Leads the Pledge of Allegiance at N.J.A. meetings;
3. Maintains order and does not permit admission of unauthorized person(s) at N.J.A. Meetings or functions;
4. Serves as an usher and guide at N.JA. meetings and events;
5. Shall verify that there is a quorum before each meeting;
6. Presents persons or things to the podium as requested;
7. Serves as the custodian in charge of the premises where the N.J.A. may be conducting a meeting or other function or event and shall be prepared to seek help in the event of any emergency;
8. Prepares for and provides information related to managing messages at the annual meeting;
9. May appoint or request that the President appoint the necessary number of deputies, members or non-members necessary to assist with their duties;
10. Supervises and works closely with non-member assistants;
SECTION III: PARLIAMENTARIAN
1. Familiarizes themselves with “Robert’s Rules of Order”, a copy of which shall be provided by the association;
2. Attends all N.J.A. meetings and the Executive Committee meetings as requested by the President or committee members;
3. Provides advice on the proper parliamentary procedure based on their interpretation of “Robert’s Rules of Order”, which shall be final.
SECTION IV: HISTORIAN
1. Maintains a written record and documentation in the form of pictures, awards and recognitions, videos of activities and special events and additional records and information required by the association;
2. Safely maintains and stores permanent records of the N.J.A.;
3. All records and documentation in the possession of the outgoing Historian shall be transferred directly to the succeeding Historian or to the President within thirty (30) days of the appointment of the successor.
ARTICLE VI: MEETING
SECTION I: NOTICE
Notice may be given in writing, by telephone or by any other electronic means, unless specified otherwise in these By-Laws.
SECTION II: SCHEDULED MEETINGS
A. An Annual Membership Meeting and Educational Conference shall be held. The Executive Board and Conference Committee shall meet immediately following the Annual Membership Meeting and the Council of State Representatives and Executive Committee shall meet immediately after;
B. There shall be at least one Fall Council of State of Representatives Meeting;
C. The Executive Director/Treasurer shall send a written notice to each Regular Member within forty-five (45) days of scheduled meetings, including the date, time and place of the meeting;
D. Notice of the Annual Membership Meeting and Educational Conference will be published in the Gavel edition following the fall meeting of the Council of State Representatives.
SECTION III: SPECIAL MEETINGS
A. The President may call a Special Meeting with the approval of at least five (5) members of the Council of State Representatives;
B. N.J.A. members shall be notified at least twenty (20) days prior to the meeting with the date, time, place and name of the person requesting the meeting;
C. Before transaction of business there shall be a quorum of at least four states or government entities and the Executive Committee;
D. Upon two-thirds (2/3) vote of the voting members present at the Annual Membership meeting, a Special Meeting or upon the demand of one-fourth (1/4) or more members of the Council of State Representatives, a Special Committee to consider and report to the membership on a specific problem within a designated period of time will be appointed;
E. The number of committees and committee members will be decided by the Council of State Representatives and committee Chairpersons are selected by the committee members.
SECTION IV: ORDER OF BUSINESS
A. A quorum of ten (10) members of the N.J.A. is required before the transaction of business with the exception of Special Meetings as provided herein, Article VI, Section III;
B. The Agenda of all business meetings shall be conducted as follows:
1. Invocation 6. Officers Reports
2. Pledge of Allegiance; 7. Committee Reports
3. Introduction and announcements 8. Old Business
4. Reading of the Minutes 9. New Business
5. Treasurer’s Report 10. Adjournment and Benediction
ARTICLE VII: COMMITTEES
SECTION I: GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURE
A. Committee duties are determined by the Council of Representatives;
B. Chairpersons and members of the standing committees are appointed by the President with the consent of the Executive Committee, unless otherwise provided herein;
C. All appointments shall be made with the purpose of maintaining a geographical balance while making appointments;
D. No vacancies shall continue beyond thirty (30) days without the advice of the consent of the Council of State Representatives;
E. Committees shall consist of an uneven number of members, normally three (3), not including the President, who may be an ex-officio-member of all committees except the Nominating Committee;
F. Committee Chairpersons must be Regular Members;
G. No member may simultaneously chair more than one committee;
H. Committee Chairpersons have no voting authority except in the event of a tie vote;
I. If a Committee Chairperson is absent or unable to perform their duties or a Chairperson has not been appointed, a quorum of the committee shall elect another committee member to serve as Chairperson.
SECTION II: TYPES OF COMMITTEES
A. Standing Committees:
B. Nominating Committee:
1. The President appoints three (3) members to the committee at the Council of State Representative’s fall meeting;
2. Members shall not represent the same state or entity as the previous committee and may not include members from the same state or entity;
3. The Senior Representative serves as the Chairperson.
ARTICLE VIII: NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Officers nominated, elected or appointed to any office shall be a regular Member as defined herein, Article II, Section I.
An incumbent Officer or Representative is eligible for election to any other office unless otherwise stated and may not be re-elected or elected to any other office, unless otherwise provided in these By-Laws.
SECTION I: NOMINATION:
A. The Nominating Committee shall nominate at least one candidate for each elective office except the office of President;
B. For the office of President the Nomination Committee shall place in nomination the present President for a second term (one time only) or the current President-Elect, unless that member declines, is unable to serve or is not in good standing;
C. Prior to the election the meeting shall be opened for nominations from the floor for each office, except the President;
D. The Nomination Committee shall give a report at the Annual Membership Meeting and provide a copy to the Secretary to record the nominations.
SECTION II: ELECTION OF OFFICERS:
A. An election of Officers will be held immediately following the close of
B. Only Regular Members are eligible to vote;
C. A secret ballot will be required when there are two or more nominees for an office;
1. Preparation of ballots is prepared by the Nomination Committee with the Sergeant-At-Arms assistance;
2. The ballots will be distributed, collected and counted by the Nomination Committee;
3. After the ballots are counted they shall be sealed in a corresponding envelop. Except in the case of a recount, the Sergeant-At-Arms shall take and shred the envelopes and contents;
4. Committee chairperson shall announced election results without unnecessary delay;
D. A recount will be conducted if the candidate with the most votes has fewer than five (5) votes more than their nearest opponent;
E. In the event of a tied vote, the election will be determined by a coin toss by the Chairperson of the Nomination Committee;
F. Newly elected Officers and State Representatives shall be given the Oath of Office at which time they shall assume the position;
G. The following Oath of Office shall be administered by the Chaplain, a Past President or other person chosen by the President. OATH OF OFFICE: “I, (state your name ), do solemnly swear that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office to which I have been elected and I will conscientiously work to achieve the objective of the National Judges Association, so help me God.”
SECTION III: CONTESTED ELECTIONS OR VOTING
Any person contesting an election result or vote on any resolution or change in the N.J.A.’s Constitution shall follow the following procedure:
A. File a signed petition, with the Nomination Committee stating specifically the grounds upon which the vote is contested;
B. File the signed petition within twenty-four (24) hours of the contested proceeding;
C. Once filed, the Petition may not be changed without the consent of the Nomination Committee. After examination of the Petition, the Committee will have the duty to determine whether the petition has merit. If the Petition has merit the committee shall recommend that the contested action be null and void;
D. This decision by the Nomination Committee must be done prior to the end of the Annual Convention;
E. If the action is recommended null and void, a new action may be started.
ARTICLE IX: BUDGET
A. A proposed BUDGET for the next organizational year shall be prepared by the Finance Committee and submitted to the Board of Directors meeting at the Annual Convention;
B. The Board shall then, after any necessary adjustments, approve the budget for submission to the general membership at the next annual business meeting;
C. No budget shall project a net deficit;
D. No expenditures shall be made except as provided by the budget, except for those associated with the annual conference and governed under policy numbers 2 and 4;
E. The Executive Committee may approve budget amendments between line items and/or emergency amendments not exceeding $500.00.
ARTICLE X: AMENDMENTS
The Constitution of the National Judges Association may be amended at any Annual Membership Meeting of the Association by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Regular Members present and voting, providing:
A. That a complete copy of the proposed amendment has been made readily available to all Regular Members present, not less than twenty-four (24 hours preceding the vote thereon; and
B. That the time and place where the vote will be taken is stated on the copy of the proposed amendment.
ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS
Any matters not covered in these Bylaws and Constitution shall be governed by the Policies and Procedures of the Council of State Representatives.
N.J.A. By-Laws as Amended:
May 6, 1981 June 9, 1988 June 24, 2003
April 28, 1982 May 3, 1990 May 18, 2004
May 16, 1984 May 16, 1991 May 23, 2006
May 17, 1985 May 19, 1994 June 26, 2007
June 11, 1986 May 11, 1995 May 24, 2018
June 25, 1987 May 7, 2002