The Courts Committee

The polarization and posturing that increasingly characterize our national and state politics have posed risks to the independence of the judiciary.  Attacks on judges for unpopular decisions, even when those decisions are a good faith interpretation of the law, have become rampant. Politicians, both federal and state, are responding to such decisions by attempting to strip the courts of their powers over certain kinds of cases.  Against this backdrop, the Courts Committee has issued recommendations designed to protect judicial independence while promoting judicial accountability.


Mickey Edwards
Vice President and Director, Aspen Institute; Lecturer Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; Former Member of Congress (R-OK) (1977-1993) and Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee

William S. Sessions
Partner, Holland and Knight LLP; Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1987-1993; Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, 1974-1987, Chief Judge, 1980-1987; United States Attorney, Western District of Texas, 1971-1974


Luke Bierman
Fellow in Law and Politics, Government Law Center of Albany (N.Y.) Law School; former Director, Institute for Emerging Issues at the North Carolina State University

Jeffrey Blattner
President, Legal Policy Solutions, LLC; Chief Counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), 1992-1995

Cynthia Canary
Director, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

Daniel S. Cheever, Jr. President, Simmons College (1995-2006)

Erwin Chemerinsky (Report on Post 9/11 Detentions)
Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Michael J. Gerhardt (Report on First Amendment Issues)
Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law and Director, Center for Law and Government, University of North Carolina School of Law

Charles Geyh
Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law

Deborah Goldberg
Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law

Thomas A. Gottschalk
Executive Vice President, Law and Public Policy, General Motors Corporation

Tracy Hahn-Burkett
Legislative Counsel, People for the American Way Foundation

James L. Huffman
Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law and  Dean, Lewis & Clark Law School (1994-2006)

Charles E. M. Kolb
President, Committee for Economic Development

Timothy Lewis
Co-Chair, Appellate Practice Group, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP; Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1992-1999)

Edward M. Madeira, Jr.
Senior Counsel, Pepper Hamilton LLP

Steven C. Markoff
CEO and Founder, A-Mark Financial Corporation; Co-Chair, A-Mark Entertainment; Chair and Founder,

John J. McMackin, Jr.
Partner, Williams & Jensen

Abner J. Mikva
Schwartz Lecturer and Senior Director, Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, University of Chicago Law School;  Member of Congress (D-IL) 1969 – 1973 and 1975 – 1979, White House Counsel, and Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit (1992-1999)

Burt Neuborne
Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties and Legal Director, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law

Charles Nihan
Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Alameda, CA

William A. Norris
Senior Counsel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1980-1997)

Kyle O’Dowd
Legislative Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Robert S. Peck
President, Center for Constitutional Litigation

Thomas R. Plough
Professor and President, Assumption College

Leslie M. Proll
Senior Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Lynn Rhinehart
Associate General Counsel, AFL-CIO

Walter Rieman
Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

William D. Ruckelshaus
Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Nixon and Reagan administrations

Michael E. Solimine
Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Larry D. Thompson
General Counsel, PepsiCo, Inc.; Deputy Attorney General of the United States, 2001-2003; former United States Attorney, Northern District of Georgia (1992-1986)

Joseph P. Tomain
Dean Emeritus and Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Robert A. Van Kirk
Partner, Williams & Connolly; Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1996-1997; Office of Counsel to the President, 1995-1996


Thomas O. Sargentich (2000-2005; deceased)
Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law

Former Members

Jan W. Baran (1998-2005)
Partner and Director of Election Law and Government Ethics; Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP

James L. Oakes (1924-2007)
Senior Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Bernard Petrie (deceased)
Former Member, California Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission





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