History of the Kern-Medina Seminar.
Bringing together trial and appellate state and federal judges at Princeton University for a continuing education experience on the humanities and science was first discussed in 1989 by Senior Judge John W. Kern, then the Dean of the National Judicial College, and Dr. Carol Rigolot, the Executive Director of the Princeton University Council of the Humanities, when they met at a Princeton Alumni meeting. The Rigolot-Kern proposal was refined by two Princeton alumni, B. Paul (Tony) Cotter, then Chief Administrative Judge of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, and Edward (Terry) Miller, a Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge, and by Judge Alfred Burka, a retired judge of the D.C. Superior Court and active in continuing judicial education. James Apple, then counsel to the Federal Judicial Center and now President of the International Judicial Academy, attended the first Medina Seminar and thereafter recommended that federal judges participate in the Seminar and the Federal Judicial Center be a co-sponsor. Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman, the Chair of the Princeton University Council on Science and Technology, subsequently the President of Princeton, agreed that the University Science Council would also be a co-sponsor. The Seminar was titled the Harold R. Medina Seminar in recognition of Judge Medina’s keen interest in the humanities, his federal judicial service as both a trial and appellate judge, and his long association with Princeton as a University trustee for some 35 years. And so in 1989, the Judicial Leadership Development Council (JLDC) was established as a 501(c)(3) corporation, and the first annual Medina Seminar was presented.
Over the years, Princeton Presidents Bowen and Shapiro, as well as Dr. Tilghman, have been
supportive of the Medina Seminar. Current President Christopher Eisgruber has been particularly
supportive, lending material support in the face of Federal budget cuts. Federal Judicial Center Directors, Schwarzer, Zobel, Smith, and Rothstein, as well as the current Director Judge Jeremy Fogel, and the FJC’s staff have made substantial contributions to the success of the Medina Seminar. IJA President Apple and Judge Cotter have facilitated the attendance at the Medina Seminar each year by foreign judges from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Jamaica, Scotland, and New Zealand. The selection of Seminar faculty and topics is made by an ad hoc Committee composed of John Cooke, Deputy Director of the Federal Judicial Center, his staff, Dr. Rigolot, and Judges Kern, Cotter, Miller, and Burka.
In 2012, the JLDC Board of Trustees voted to rename the Seminar "The Kern-Medina Seminar" in honor of Judge Kern who conceived and led the presentation of the Seminar for 22 years. He and his wife Peggie Cantlin-Kern have provided yeoman service in making his vision a reality year after year. As a result of their efforts, the Seminar has become among the most highly rated seminar for judges co-sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center and has an international reputation for excellence.
The JLDC is a non-profit corporation with no paid staff; all work in informing the judiciary about it, obtaining speakers, and arranging for space, meals and receptions, is performed by volunteers. The Kern-Medina Seminar is not self supporting and owes its continued existence to contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Contributions to JLDC (4909 Chanticleer Avenue, Annandale, Virginia 22003) are welcome and will be used solely for the Kern-Medina Seminar.
The Honorable Harold R. Medina
The Honorable John W. Kern III