WASHINGTON, D.C. After a distinguished career as director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, L. Ralph Mecham, a long-time resident of this area and a former stake president and regional representative of the Church, was hosted at an appreciation dinner March 14 by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts.
"Under Ralph's leadership, the federal court system has flourished. It has been invaluable to have him by my side," the Chief Justice said during a presentation of a resolution highlighting Brother Mecham's accomplishments. These accomplishments included his advocacy of the federal judiciary to the Congress and to the Executive Branch; his willingness to reach out across the judiciary to decentralize it, allowing more flexibility and responsiveness to local needs; and placing the judiciary in the forefront of technology.
U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, chairman of the Judicial Conference Executive Committee, extended his appreciation for Brother Mecham's "outstanding stewardship of the federal judiciary" and observed that he "has made the federal judiciary the envy of the world's justice systems." The Judicial Conference, a conference of leading federal judges, has named its conference room in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Brother Mecham's honor.
Appointed as director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in 1985, Brother Mecham continued to serve under the leadership of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who died last summer. Since September 2005 he has continued to serve at the request of Chief Justice Roberts.
In addition to members of the Mecham family, the appreciation dinner was attended by U.S. Supreme Court Justices David Souter, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito, as well as federal district and appellate judges from across the country. Also attending were Senators Orrin G. Hatch and Robert F. (Bob) Bennett; Elders J. W. Marriott Jr., and Ralph W. Hardy Jr.; and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and member of the Washington, D.C. Temple presidency, Sidney L. Jones.
The evening also honored Brother Mecham's wife, Barbara Folsom Mecham, for her continuing support and involvement with the Judicial Conference and the work of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.