American Judges Association



John Conery

Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 51, Issue 4 (2015)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


It is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have been better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; . . . who strives valiantly; . . . who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”—Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena: Citizenship in a Republic.

I am humbled and thankful that our fellow AJA members have elected me to be your “Man in the Arena” this year. In a sense, the minute we take our oath of office as judges, all of us are immediately “in the arena” of public scrutiny. Our motto at AJA is “Making Better Judges®,” and we hope that this year we can help you better withstand that public scrutiny as we help each other shine and sparkle while toiling in the “arena” of our courtrooms and chambers. Many times our decisions require great courage, other times we are required to exercise great patience; sometimes compassion is called for, and at other times, we must stand firm. But at all times, we must treat all who appear in the judicial “arena” with fairness and dignity to better serve the ends of justice.