Structural Reform and Governance

Courts and Legal Policy

The Courts and Legal Policy team works to advance reforms to make America’s legal system more accessible and just for ordinary people.

A courtroom in Ohio. (Getty/Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge)

What We're Doing

Ensure America's judges reflect its diversity

Despite recent and historic gains, America’s federal judges remain overwhelmingly white and male, and the bench is stacked with those from corporate law backgrounds and former federal prosecutors. Appointing diverse nominees with diverse backgrounds is essential to strengthening the courts.

Modernize the federal bench at all levels

From significant expansion of the lower courts to instituting term limits for Supreme Court justices, it is critical to enact reforms that will ensure that the size of the judiciary and the makeup of the Supreme Court reflect the needs of the American people and the realities of modern life.

Advance access to justice for all people

Too often, justice in America’s courtrooms is only accessible to those with means and in power. The need to expand access to justice has only become more pressing as COVID-19 has exacerbated long-standing legal inequities. All people, regardless of income or status, deserve high-quality legal help.

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Recent Work

Latest

The Supreme Court Must Continue To Provide Live Audio Broadcasts of Oral Arguments Article

The Supreme Court Must Continue To Provide Live Audio Broadcasts of Oral Arguments

The U.S. Supreme Court began offering remote, real-time audio broadcasts of its oral arguments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it should continue to provide such access upon resuming normal operations.

Stephanie Wylie, Anushree Thekkedath, Clay Cortez, 1 More Erin Mahon

5 Facts About Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Article
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

5 Facts About Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s exemplary background reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to nominating exceptional judges at every level.

Stephanie Wylie, Genna Cifelli

The Climate Needs a Balanced Judiciary Article
A smoky sunset is seen behind the Alameda County Superior Courthouse in Oakland, California, on September 14, 2020. (Getty/East Bay Times/Digital First Media/Jane Tyska)

The Climate Needs a Balanced Judiciary

As litigation continues over efforts to address climate change, it is critical that America’s federal courts include judges with professional expertise advancing climate protection policies.

Maggie Jo Buchanan

The Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy Is Over Report
 (Volunteers in Washington, D.C., place teddy bears along a cage as part of a demonstration meant to represent the children still separated from their families as a result of U.S. immigration policies, November 2020.)

The Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy Is Over

Individual and collective accountability for the family separation policy is needed to hold individuals responsible, restore faith in government institutions, prevent further abuses, and provide appropriate redress.

Maggie Jo Buchanan, Philip E. Wolgin, Claudia Flores

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