JAS Director Reflects on State of the Courts

As 2013 comes to a close, Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg reflects on what he says was a “pretty challenging year” for state and federal courts. He also predicts that 2014 will present new challenges as many states are scheduled to hold judicial elections. On the federal level, Brandenburg says there were historic gains for diversity on the bench in 2013, but that the courts continue to suffer from a long-term funding crisis exacerbated by the sequestration budget cuts. On the state level, Brandenburg praised West Virginia for adopting public financing of judicial races but lamented efforts to dismantle merit selection for Kansas judges. Finally, Brandenburg says he expects to see a renewed effort in the states to do away with or politicize merit selection of judges over the next year. Watch his remarks in a video from Justice at Stake.