CHARLESTON — Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman recently participated in a presidential scholar-in-resident program at Robert Morris University in Moon, Pennsylvania.
Kaufman was selected to be the presidential scholar-in-residence from Oct. 21 to Oct. 25. He lectured and joined in panel discussions on the judicial system, law and government.
Kaufman said it was a lot of fun and took him out of his "box" as a judge.
"I came away inspired," Kaufman said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "It's like a continuing education experience for me."
Kaufman said he taught courses on judicial oversight and taxes, but also had discussions on equal protection.
"It's good to get off the bench sometimes to discuss contemporary issues and to hear from students," Kaufman said. "It's important to understand politically that the fastest growing group is young people."
Kaufman said it's important for judges in some cases to be teachers as they apply the law to various people and parties.
"It is important for judges to be teachers in certain cases to be teachers, not to make examples out of people but to understand the cases themselves and the decisions of cases are examples that we have followed and set guidelines and principles for others to follow," Kaufman said. "We need to continue to grow as judges.
"I've tried hard to do this as a judge over the past three decades, to get away from the bench occasionally and lecture and to teach and to do research through opportunities to participate in various forums at universities in other states and even abroad during my career."
Kaufman said these experiences, especially the one at Robert Morris, have broadened his perspective
"Hopefully I have contributed something to others with this," Kaufman said.
Kaufman said lecturing gives judges continuing legal education while students are getting theirs.