Quality Judges

How does someone become a judge in the United States? The answer varies from state to state and sometimes court to court. And, some methods for selecting state court judges are more effective than others in choosing judges who are qualified and impartial, and who inspire public trust in our courts. The Quality Judges Initiative at IAALS is dedicated to promoting models for choosing, evaluating, and retaining judges that preserve these qualities, ensure public accountability, and keep politics from undermining the critical role of our judiciary.

Featured 
Publication
IAALS has been working to improve and expand judicial performance evaluation programs since our founding in 2006. One of the major challenges these...
Publication
In 33 states and the District of Columbia, judicial nominating commissions play a part in selecting at least some judges. States have adopted...
Project
IAALS and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.) have identified a model for choosing, evaluating, and retaining judges.
Project
Judges in the U.S. are selected through a variety of methods. We promote models that emphasize qualifications and limit political considerations.
Project
The judicial nominating commission is the key to commission-based appointment, or “merit selection,” of state court judges.
Project
We are at the forefront of efforts to improve and expand programs for evaluating the performance of state and federal judges.

Recent Blog Posts

We live in a time of cynicism and dissatisfaction with government—a dissatisfaction that includes the judicial branch. Gallup surveys of satisfaction...
National organizations that work to ensure fair, trusted, and accountable courts are increasingly recognizing the potential for implicit bias to...
A recent study by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is shedding new light on the demographics of state judiciaries across...
Staff 
Manager, Quality Judges Initiative
Executive Assistant to Rebecca Love Kourlis