Our Constitution guarantees everyone a fair day in court. But the promise of evenhanded justice in America is increasingly at risk. In state courts, which hear 95 percent of all cases, judicial elections are awash in money. Nearly 90 percent of Americans believe that campaign cash affects courtroom decisions – and alarmingly, nearly half of state court judges believe the same. Outdated judicial conduct rules mean many judges regularly hear cases involving major campaign supporters. And neither state nor federal courts reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
Courts have also been put on defense. The President has repeatedly questioned the authority and legitimacy of federal judges. And across the country, legislators have sought to curtail the independence and power of state courts.
Through research, policy development, public education, and litigation, the Brennan Center promotes measures to protect judicial independence, achieve a diverse bench, and guard against political pressure and special interest influence on the courts.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”