The USAID New Justice Program, in cooperation with the Ukrainian Catholic University, organized a public lecture by Justice Debra Stephens of the Washington State Supreme Court. Justice Stephens delivered a lecture titled “Fair and Open Courts: Lessons from the American States on Contemporary Threats to Judicial Independence and Accountability in an Age of Polarized Politics”.
Justice Debra Stephens is the first woman from Eastern Washington to be appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court. She was the youngest of the nine justices of the Supreme Court. Before this high appointment, she served for many years as Court of Appeals judge. Prior to becoming a judge, she was a famous lawyer; she taught at the Gonzaga University School of Law, where volunteered to serve as an attorney-supervisor at the school’s legal clinic. Additionally, Justice Stephens was active in developing the e-filing database for appellate courts of the state. As a member of Access to Justice Board, she helped improve access to justice for representatives of indigenous peoples.
The event was part of the Rule of Law Lecture Series conducted by the Ukrainian Catholic University with the USAID support to advance the understanding of crosscutting issues of the rule of law, judicial independence and accountability.