2015 • 1 year, 2 months • Strengthening American Democracy
Established in 2000, Justice at Stake leads a network of over 50 legal, civic and reform groups working to insulate courts from political pressure, educate the public about the importance of fair and impartial courts, and increase diversity on the bench. It is the only national organization working exclusively on the issue of judicial independence. In 2012 and 2014, record amounts of campaign contributions went into television advertising for judicial elections. Nearly half of all state judges believe that campaign cash is affecting courtroom decisions. Outside of election cycles, the judiciary has become politicized as judges are subject to intimidation and calls for impeachment, shortening of terms, changes in jurisdiction to hear cases, and cuts to court budgets. In light of these growing threats to judicial independence, and not enough progress on the efforts to change campaign finance laws, Justice at Stake conducted a strategic planning process in 2014 to chart its future priorities. Its assessment of the environment and potential for impact has led the organization to focus its next five years on a state-based strategy for developing and promoting a "gold standard" for merit selection of judges. With MacArthur support, Justice at Stake will research and develop a model system for merit selection and promote its adoption across targeted states.
2014 • 1 year • Strengthening American Democracy
Justice at Stake is the leader of the national nonpartisan coalition to protect the independence of state and federal courts and their capacity to provide effective, transparent justice. It works with national and state-based organizations to promote merit-based selection of judges, public financing of judicial elections, disclosure and recusal policies related to campaign contributors, and a more diverse and better funded judiciary. This grant supports general operations and a strategic planning process.
2012 • 2 years • Strengthening American Democracy
Justice at Stake is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the leader of a growing national coalition of more than 50 organizations working to protect the independence of state and federal courts and their capacity to provide effective, transparent justice. Justice at Stake provides strategic planning and communication to coalition partners in their efforts to defend and advance merit selection of judges, public financing of judicial elections, and improved laws for recusal and disclosure. Justice at Stake increases public awareness through a targeted media program informed by public opinion research. This grant will provide support to Justice at Stake’s judicial selection and campaign reform efforts.