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At both the federal and state levels, independent courts are critical to preserving our constitutional system of checks and balances and protecting our constitutional rights. This report examines the impact of fiscal crises in the states – which have led to budgetary cutbacks – and on the ability of state judicial systems to fulfill their important constitutional duties.
Professor Charles G. Geyh testifies that although the Judicial Transparency and Ethics Enforcement Act of 2006 has a laudable goal – to make the federal judiciary better accountable for its budget and for the ethical transgressions of its judges – pursuing that goal by creating an inspector general for the federal judiciary is highly problematic. The preferred approach is to work cooperatively with the courts to address the concerns that animate the bill, rather than to impose a problematic solution on an unwilling judiciary.
In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, reporters face unprecedented challenges. Particularly in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, reporters face unprecedented challenges - particularly for journalists who cover government and political beats, obtaining the backstory behind the headlines often requires a luxury they don't have: time. The Constitution Project's Courts Initiative created the Newsroom Guide to provide reporters with our members’ experience and expertise through a variety of material: historical information on judicial independence, related court cases, quotes from lawmakers, a glossary of terms, a chart detailing judicial selection methods in each state and U.S. territory, and leads to organizations and people who are valuable resources for reporters.
The Constitution Project's Courts Initiative released four bipartisan task force reports in 2000 examining federal judicial selection, public and political censure of individual judges, and legislative efforts to restrict courts’ ability to hear cases. Ten Principles for Preserving Courts' Role in American Democracy reiterates the fundamental, bipartisan principles from these task force findings and recommendations, which are based on the premise that courts can be impartial and fair only if they are free to decide cases without influence by special interests or fear of political reprisals
The Constitution Project created the Independent Courts Toolbox™ for activist organizations and individuals working locally to defend the independence of the judiciary. This multifaceted “toolbox” is designed to empower those who would like to work on behalf of independent courts but lack the information and materials, and the time and resources, to develop them.