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


Why Courts Matter in the Trump Era Video

Why Courts Matter in the Trump Era

The importance of the federal court system becomes increasingly apparent as the Trump administration attacks fundamental American values and protections.

Jake Faleschini, Meghan Miller, Jasmine Hardy

How Masterpiece Cakeshop Can Undermine Civil Rights Video

How Masterpiece Cakeshop Can Undermine Civil Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court could undermine civil rights for the LGBTQ community in Masterpiece Cakeshop.

Jasmine Hardy, Claire Markham, Jake Faleschini, 1 More Laura E. Durso

Trump’s First 100 Days in 100 Seconds Video

Trump’s First 100 Days in 100 Seconds

Watch a 100-second run-down of Trump's chaotic first 100 days.

the Center for American Progress

5 Things You Need to Know About Judge Gorsuch Video

5 Things You Need to Know About Judge Gorsuch

President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the currently vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Here are five things you need to know about Judge Gorsuch.

Andrew Satter, Aki Suzuki, Billy Corriher, 1 More Jake Faleschini

Dirty Money, Dirty Water II Video

Dirty Money, Dirty Water II

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that municipalities cannot regulate fracking waste, but many of the justices who made this decision received large campaign contributions from fracking companies and fossil fuel interests.

Billy Corriher, Lauren Malkani

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