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.

Recent Work

Latest

State or Federal Court? Fact Sheet
The U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington on February 13, 2016. (AP/Jon Elswick)

State or Federal Court?

A guide to distinguish the differences and similarities between state and federal courts, and explain the challenges that exist for both court systems’ processes.

Anisha Singh, Billy Corriher

Keeping Campaign Cash Out of North Carolina Courts Fact Sheet
Signs of coal ash swirl in the Dan River after a spill at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden, North Carolina, on February 5, 2014. (AP/Gerry Broome)

Keeping Campaign Cash Out of North Carolina Courts

The repeal of public financing for judicial candidates could give corporate polluters and other donors more influence in North Carolina courts.

Billy Corriher, Sean Wright

Discrimination? Corporate Loopholes? Law Avoidance? Hobby Lobby’s Potentially Slippery Slope Fact Sheet

Discrimination? Corporate Loopholes? Law Avoidance? Hobby Lobby’s Potentially Slippery Slope

A poorly decided Hobby Lobby ruling has the ability to dramatically redefine religious liberty from a fundamental value that protects genuine religious beliefs to a loophole that can be used to discriminate and create unfair advantages in the corporate world.

Joshua Field