The Idaho Humanities Council will honor former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Jones with IHC’s Award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities” at a wine/dessert reception and award ceremony on Thursday, February 22, 7 p.m., at the Hoff Building Crystal Ballroom (2nd Floor, Bannock and 8th) in Boise. The award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium, will be presented to Jones, honoring his distinguished career as a public servant and Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, his devotion to the plight of refugees in Idaho and the U.S. for many years, and the recent publication of a book he authored that explores the history of a significant southern Idaho Snake River water rights controversy of the 1980s.
Jones, 75, a decorated U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, served on the staff of Senator Len B. Jordan in the early 1970s, and was elected twice as Attorney General for the State of Idaho (1983-1991). He was elected to the Idaho Supreme Court in 2004, ran unopposed in 2008, and was elected by his peers as Chief Justice in 2015.
He retired from the court in 2017 and published A Little Dam Problem, which chronicles an epic battle over water rights between the State of Idaho and Idaho Power Company. A court decision in 1982--the year Jones was first elected Idaho Attorney General--gave Idaho Power virtual control over the flow of the Snake River in southern Idaho, and as the newly elected Attorney General Jones became mired in a struggle with a powerful adversary as he worked with legislators and water users to minimize the damage caused by the decision. His first-person account of the controversy that resulted in the historic Swan Falls agreement is a fascinating chapter in Idaho history and sheds light on the history of politics, government, and water law in the west.
More recently, Jones has focused renewed energies on his lifetime interest in bringing public attention to the plight of refugees in Idaho and the U.S. As an advocate for refugees, he has lectured, written editorials, and worked to convince lawmakers and the general public that our state and nation need to step up their commitment to help those who are forced to flee their homelands.
“We look forward to honoring an extraordinary individual with the Idaho Humanities Council’s award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities,” said IHC Chair Jenny Emery Davidson. “Jim Jones is a remarkable Idahoan who had a distinguished career as a Jurist and public servant, and added a significant new work to the Idaho history bookshelf.”
At the ceremony several individuals will help roast and toast Jones by speaking about the appropriateness of the award honoring him, followed by Jones himself saying a few words about his life and work.
Anyone interested in attending the catered reception and award ceremony for Jim Jones on Thursday, February 22, should RSVP to the Idaho Humanities Council at (208) 345-5346, or email email@example.com. Doors at the Hoff Building Crystal Ballroom will open at 6:30 p.m. with the ceremony beginning at 7 p.m.
The Idaho Humanities Council is the statewide, nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities dedicated to promoting greater public understanding of literature, history, ethics, law, and other humanities disciplines. The Council has presented its award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities” annually since 1986. Previous recipients of the award include independent historian Keith Petersen, Twin Falls anthropologist James Woods, Idaho Governor Robert E. Smylie, College of Idaho Professor Louie Attebery, State Historian Merle Wells, Constitution scholar David Adler, Idaho historian Arthur Hart, Moscow writer Mary Clearman Blew, ISU English Professor Brian Atteberry, Idaho poet William Studebaker, Nez Perce elder Horace Axtell, former Lewis-Clark State College English Professor Keith Browning, ISU History Professor Ron Hatzenbuehler, Basque Museum and Cultural Center Director Patty Miller, Boise Independent School District Administrator and history teacher Russ Heller, LCSC anthropologist Alan Marshall, Idaho Public Television’s Peter Morrill, College of Idaho archivist and photographer Jan Boles, Idaho State Historical Society Publications Editor Judy Austin, ISU English Professor Susan Swetnam, and others.