Luke Bierman, Fellow in Government Law and Policy at Albany Law School's Government Law Center, moderated a panel discussion today on judicial independence in the 21st century at the Justice at Stake Awards Luncheon at Harvard Law School.
Commemorating the centennial of Dean Roscoe Pound's provocative speech to the American Bar Association about the dissatisfaction of the public with the American system of justice in the early days of the 20th century, this panel probed contemporary issues of trust and confidence in the American court system. As the nation's judiciary faces serious criticism from Congress and interest groups at the same time that spending in judicial elections is rapidly escalating and public knowledge about the courts is weak, public opinion surveys indicate concern by the American public about the quality and cost of American justice. As Pound sought a century ago to encourage modernization and improvement to American courts, this panel explored the changing role of the American courts, innovations some courts are using to improve their methods of adjudication and outreach efforts to help the public appreciate the role courts play in the American republic.
In addition to Bierman, panelists at the forum included the Honorable Jeff Amestoy, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Vermont; Renee Landers, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School; and Mary McQueen, President of the National Center for State Courts.
The discussion followed an awards ceremony that honored Roy A. Schotland, a Professor of Law at Georgetown University School of Law, and the Honorable Randall T. Shepard, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indiana for their efforts working to expand the public's knowledge about the courts.
Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan campaign working to keep our courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake Campaign partners educate the public and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom-so judges can do their job protecting our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law. JAS is currently funded by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Joyce Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and the Public Welfare Foundation