Rebuilding Justice
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Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

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In This Section

Advancing empirically informed models for choosing, evaluating and retaining judges

Why Quality Judges

Quality Judges Initiative addresses three key challenges in the civil justice system:

1. Various models for choosing judges do not foster impartiality and accountability in fact or in the eyes of the public.

  • Some judges have to run for office and raise money from people who appear before them, such as lawyers and litigants.
  • Recent surveys indicate that approximately three-quarters of the public believe judges’ decisions are influenced by campaign contributions.
  • Judges should decide cases based solely on the law; securing support from campaign contributors and voters should not be a factor.

Quality Judges Initiative is dedicated to advancing the highest quality processes for choosing, evaluating and retaining judges by identifying, developing, measuring and promoting recommended models that preserve the highest degree of impartiality and accountability.

2. There is insufficient empirical research to demonstrate which processes best ensure impartiality while providing accountability.

  • No two states choose, evaluate and retain their judges in exactly the same way, but little is known about the implications of the different processes.

Quality Judges Initiative conducts comprehensive assessments of existing practices and serves as an unbiased, empirically based resource in recommending models and processes for choosing, evaluating and retaining judges.

3. There is a need for readily available research and models to improve processes for choosing, evaluating and retaining judges.

  • To accomplish reform, governors and legislators need objective, empirically based information about which processes best ensure impartiality and accountability.
  • To promote and preserve public confidence in the courts, judges, lawyers and citizens need credible, empirically driven models that advance impartiality and accountability.

Quality Judges Initiative encourages, empowers and enables process improvement through collaboration and communications.

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IAALS - Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

  • Address: John Moye Hall | 2060 South Gaylord Way | Denver, CO 80208
  • Main Line: (303) 871-6600 | Fax: (303) 871-6610