Fighting for a federal judiciary that upholds the promise of equal justice for all
The Fair Courts Program
The federal courts are not working for all of us. Too often, courts favor the wealthy and powerful over everyday people, creating corrupt outcomes and perpetuating inequality. For our democracy to work as it should, judges must be committed to achieving the promise inscribed on the Supreme Court: “Equal Justice Under Law.” That’s how we protect our rights — including voting rights, health care, LGBTQ equality, disability rights, protections for immigrants, rights of working people, freedom from discrimination based on religion, environmental protections, gun safety, and more.
Now, under the Biden administration and the 118th Congress, we have new opportunities to transform our courts for the better. We must demand a federal judiciary that will uphold the rights of all people in America. That means the White House and Senate must prioritize nominating and confirming judges who have a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, who are fair-minded with a progressive vision of the law, and who reflect and represent the rich diversity of our nation. This diversity includes race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, ethnicity, national origin, socio-economic status, and experiential and professional background.
Congress must also respond to the ongoing judicial ethics crisis by passing legislation that modernizes and strengthens our courts, including legislation on ethics reforms, such as extension of a binding Code of Conduct for Supreme Court justices, further transparency measures, and ongoing investigation into the escalating reports of misconduct. Congress must also pass structural reforms such as expanding the number of authorized judgeships for circuit and district courts, and Congress should also consider other structural reforms to the Supreme Court.
The Leadership Conference has a trove of fair courts resources available online — below are just our most recent. Check out our resource library to find more resources.
To advance equal justice and strengthen our democracy, the Supreme Court must work for all of us, not just the wealthy and powerful. Yet media reports have alleged escalating and egregious patterns of ethics violations and misconduct by the justices who serve for life on our nation’s highest court. The need for serious and immediate action on judicial ethics is clear. We call for immediate passage of robust ethics reform legislation, including an enforceable Code of Conduct for Supreme Court justices, as well as other needed transparency measures. Furthermore, we urge sustained oversight and investigation into reports identifying disturbing patterns of ethics violations by Supreme Court justices.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
The historic confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson embodied our decades-long work and demands to strengthen the federal judiciary with incredible judges who possess a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights and who bring with them previously excluded professional and personal diversity. Justice Jackson is the first Black woman and first public defender to ever serve on our nation’s highest court.
Together with our coalition members and the Fair Courts Task Force, we educate the public about the impact of federal courts, evaluate the civil rights records of federal judicial nominees, talk to decision makers, and mobilize public participation in defense of a judiciary that recognizes and protects the rights of all people.
We work with Congress to demand the federal courts recognize and uphold civil rights. Both chambers of Congress must be vigilant in performing their respective duties. In addition to passing legislation to modernize our courts, senators must prioritize the selection and confirmation of diverse, pro-civil rights judicial nominees, and representatives must use their voices and influence to advocate for fair courts.
We build strategies to empower diverse community voices in the fight for our federal courts. By leveraging our coalition’s strength and organizing from the local to national levels, we are expanding and engaging new leaders, holding officials accountable, and bringing to light the courts’ impact on the issues that matter most.
Shaping the Narrative
We know that if you care about protecting civil and human rights, then you need to care about our federal courts. That is why — by leveraging online and digital tools — we are breaking new ground in creative storytelling to illustrate what is at stake in the fight for a fair and impartial judiciary.
The Leadership Conference Applauds Judge Shanlyn Park’s Historic Confirmation
WASHINGTON — Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Judge Shanlyn Park to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii:
We Need a Supreme Court That Works for All of Us
WASHINGTON — Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to authorize subpoenas related to its Supreme Court ethics investigation:
Margaret Garnett’s Confirmation Strengthens Our Federal Judiciary
WASHINGTON — Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Margaret Garnett to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York:
The Leadership Conference coalition has spent decades defending fair and impartial federal courts. As such, we have a trove of resources available online, from policy papers to advocacy and educational materials to media and creative content. Check out our resource library to learn more about the federal judiciary.