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New York—The Northeast’s blizzard of 2005 didn’t slow the hectic momentum of the annual Conference of Chief Justices that ended last week. Several substantive resolutions were passed unanimously at the meeting, chaired by conference President Shirley Abrahamson, chief justice of Wisconsin. Some of the resolutions that passed were: Opposition to a federal bill that mandates removal to federal court, upon motion, of any state case that affects interstate commerce. Opposition to expected federal legislation that would create a federal cause of action to resolve child custody jurisdictional conflicts between state courts. A detailed resolution in support of legislation to improve the management of cases for children in foster care, which closely follows the recommendations of the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care. Endorsement of the Conference of State Court Administrators’ white paper “Safety and Accountability: State Courts and Domestic Violence,” which sets out comprehensive guidelines for improving victim safety and offender accountability. The resolution also calls for, among other things, an annual national research agenda to identify best practices. Support of federal legislation to strengthen the Interstate Compact on the Placement of [abused and neglected] Children, with two suggested amendments. A call for a return to a well-defined core curriculum of civics education in the schools “essential to the well-being of our representative democracy [and] understanding of fundamental constitutional principles.” A controversial resolution that dealt, in part, with claims of actual innocence, written by Louisiana Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, never made it out of the Public Trust and Confidence in the Judiciary Committee. Kenneth Feinberg, special master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, named 2004 Lawyer of the Year by The National Law Journal, delivered a closing address to the conference. One of the first calls Feinberg got after his appointment was from the conference’s host, New York Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. She asked him what he needed, Feinberg said. Under the leadership of New York Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, Feinberg got his wish, he said, which was to cut through the red tape to move the cases forward in surrogate’s court to establish who was entitled to compensation. New York set the standard for court cooperation in other states, Feinberg asserted.

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