Merriam-Webster has just named the top ten words searched on its website this past year, and Justice is the “Word of the Year” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/word-of-the-year-2018-justice). Here is what Merriam-Webster wrote about why Justice was researched so much:

The concept of justice was at the center of many of our national debates in the past year: racial justice, social justice, criminal justice, economic justice. In any conversation about these topics, the question of just what exactly we mean when we use the term justice is relevant, and part of the discussion…Justice has varied meanings that do a lot of work in the language—meanings that range from the technical and legal to the lofty and philosophical. For many reasons and for many meanings, one thing’s for sure: justice has been on the minds of many people in 2018.

One can see the Merriam-Webster designation of Justice as a reflection of societal problems, but I see the selection as a very positive development that instead shows people are engaged and seeking knowledge about what Justice means. For those of us who have dedicated our careers to advancing the Rule of Law, it is great that Justice is at the forefront of people’s minds. An educated and engaged populace is critical to public trust and confidence in our government institutions. The courts are no exception (a full treatment of public trust and confidence in the judiciary is found at https://nacmcore.org/module/principle/).

As 2018 draws to a close, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to the new year with optimism that we will continue our efforts to advance the Rule of Law and Justice worldwide.

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