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


Most States Flunk a Test of Their Recusal Rules Interactive
 (recusal map)

Most States Flunk a Test of Their Recusal Rules

A CAP analysis finds that states have failed to strengthen their judicial ethics rules to address the growth in campaign cash.

Billy Corriher, Jake Paiva

Measuring Gun Violence Across the 50 States Interactive
 (Interactive U.S. map)

Measuring Gun Violence Across the 50 States

This interactive map shows a state-by-state survey of 10 measures of gun violence drawn from FBI, ATF, and CDC data. The measures are aggregated to show that states with weak gun laws have higher rates of gun violence, and states with stronger gun laws have lower rates of gun violence.

Emma Shapiro, Charles Posner

26 Million and Growing Interactive

26 Million and Growing

Interactive map shows the rising number of internally displaced persons worldwide, and Natalie Ondiak offers a three-step plan for addressing the issue.

Natalie Ondiak