Judge J. Clifford Wallace, Jurist Without Borders

This past month California Lawyer Magazine featured LDS Judge J. Clifford Wallace. He is a senior Judge on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who has been serving on the bench since President Nixon appointed him in 1972.

Wallace “has traveled to some 60 countries, advising judiciaries on everything from combating corruption to implementing mediation programs to staving off interference by a military president. His pioneering work in the international rule of law movement predates the American Bar Association’s initiative in Eastern Europe by 20 years.

The silver-haired judge, who turned 80 last December, is revered as one of the world’s leading experts on judicial administration. In Thailand, Wallace is referred to as “father of the courts.” The chief justice of Guam considers himself “blessed” to have Wallace’s guidance.

Wallace enjoys a following in the United States as well, at least among conservatives… he has taken stands in his legal writings against affirmative action, abortion rights, and physician-assisted suicide. According to a 2006 study, Wallace was the least likely of the circuit’s judges to grant asylum, voting in favor of asylum seekers only 4 percent of the time. A frequent speaker for chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Enterprise Institute, on more than one occasion he was considered for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2005 he received the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award—the most prestigious honor in the federal judiciary—and more than 60 of his former clerks turned out for the presentation.

The amount of good that the Honorable Judge Wallace has done throughout the world is amazing. He’s an inspiration we can all look to.