Jaguars host the first naturalization ceremony ever held at an NFL game.
The week before Christmas for the legal community, the holiday season was marked by welcoming new children to families and new citizens to America.
And some professional sports history was made in Jacksonville.
On Dec. 19, for the 14th-consecutive year, Circuit Judge David Gooding presided over the “Home for the Holidays” adoption ceremony at the Duval County Courthouse.
Fourteen families adopted 24 children, bringing Jacksonville’s adoption total since July 1 to 146.
Gooding established the annual event as a way to ensure that children and their adoptive parents could be together as a family at Christmas.
“Research confirms what we already know in our hearts — children thrive when part of a loving, permanent family,” he said.
“We are leading, or a close second, in adoption finalizations across the state of Florida. Adoptions are increasing as we create more awareness and a willingness to ensure that children find permanent homes and not linger in foster care,” said Dani Deyton, director of community development at Family Support Services of North Florida.
At a naturalization ceremony Dec. 13 at TIAA Bank Field, 65 people from 38 countries became U.S. citizens.
The ceremony, during halftime of the Jacksonville Jaguars-Washington Redskins football game, was the first such ceremony conducted at an NFL game.
“As the daughter of naturalized citizens, I have always found naturalization ceremonies to be increasingly meaningful, and over the years, our court has tried to expand the educational experience of attending a naturalization ceremony to larger audiences. We are pleased that the Jaguars share our appreciation for these important ceremonies,” said U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard, who administered the Oath of Allegiance to the new Americans.
Federal courts remain open
Despite the partial government shutdown, the federal courts are open and will remain so through Jan. 11 by using court fee balances and other funds not dependent on a new appropriation, according to a news release from U.S. Courts.
Most proceedings and deadlines will occur as scheduled. In cases in which an attorney from an executive branch agency is not working because of the shutdown, hearing and filing dates may be rescheduled.
The Case Management/Electronic Case Files system also will remain in operation for electronic filing of documents.
If the shutdown continues past three weeks and exhausts the federal judiciary’s resources, the courts then will operate under the terms of the Anti-Deficiency Act, which allows work to continue during a lapse in appropriations if it is necessary to support the exercise of Article III judicial powers.
Under that scenario, each court and federal defender’s office would determine the staffing resources necessary to continue operations.
Board service panel on Jan. 10
The Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association will present a discussion about the career benefits and value of service on boards of directors at its CLE and lunch meeting at 11:45 a.m. Jan. 10 at The River Club.
Moderated by Rena Coughlin, CEO of the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida, the panel will comprise Karen Bowling, trustees chair at Florida State College at Jacksonville; Giselle Carson, chair of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority; and Ramona Chaplin, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid board chair.
Visit jwla.org to register.