What’s at stake
Our federal courts are of profound importance because federal judges are responsible for making decisions that have a direct impact on civil and human rights protections for all. Courts are charged with remaining the independent, fair and impartial branch of government and serving as a check on Congress and the president.
However, the judicial branch does rely on the other two branches in many ways. The sitting president is responsible for nominating judges when a vacancy occurs. The Senate is responsible for vetting each nominee to ensure they are fit for the bench.
That’s why judicial impartiality is so crucial. While Congress makes the laws, it’s the courts that interpret and uphold those laws as they see fit. So, while you may not ever set foot in a courtroom, what happens behind those doors can have a direct impact on your life and the lives of those around you.
This need for fair courts is even more important for people in marginalized communities. When judges do not rule independently or fairly, people of color, women, immigrants, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups feel a disproportionate impact on their lives. And since these seats are lifetime positions, their judicial confirmations have lasting effects for generations.
Courts change lives of immigrants
The courts are all that stand between Dreamers and Trump’s deportation force. If you care about immigrants, you have to care about our courts. Thousands of judges are delivering decisions on immigrant justice. These judges have the final say on whether someone can stay in this country or whether they must leave. Because these are lifetime appointments, the confirmation of each and every judge is consequential to not only this generation but also for generations to come. In this video, Karol Alzate Lodono discusses the monumental impact courts have on immigrants.
Courts change lives of women
Even if you never see the inside of a courtroom, what happens there affects you. Congress can pass a law that says women deserve equal pay, but a judge has to interpret that law. A judge who doesn’t acknowledge the discrimination women experience will rule very differently than one who does. In this video, Lindsay Morris breaks down the role courts play in setting standards for equal pay.
Courts change lives of people of color
What if a racist were deciding what constituted police brutality against African Americans? It’s against the law for police to use excessive force, but it’s up to a judge to rule whether or not it was used. These decisions are a matter of life and death. It is up to the courts to interpret and enforce laws in a fair and just manner. Brielle Green discusses the disproportionate impact courts and judges have on the African-American community.