Law & Policy: Policy Advocacy

We are developing a progressive vision of the U.S. Constitution that will guide cross-silo litigation and policy advocacy strategies, inform considerations of judicial nominees, and support public education campaigns in various issue areas.

Equal Justice Society is currently involved in the national effort to expedite the nomination and confirmation of progressive federal judges. The Obama presidency offers a window of opportunity to shift conservative tendencies of the judiciary by confirming judges who will counter the right-wing legacy left by the Bush administration.

However, our current president has not responded to this task with the rapidity that the progressive legal community had hoped for. As of November 4 of their respective first years in office, Bush had nominated 25 judges to appeals courts, while Obama has nominated just 12. Similarly, Bush had nominated 35 judges to district court seats, while Obama has nominated 14, as of the same dates.

The confirmation of the nominated judges presents a further challenge, namely the threat of republican filibusters. EJS joins the cause of urging the administration to prioritize the formation of a progressive judiciary and seeing the nomination and confirmation processes through to the desired end.

In order to reach this goal, EJS contributes to national strategy and alliance building. We are working closely with groups such as Alliance for Justice, whose Judicial Selection Project is devoted to the cause.

We seek to take a tough stance, demanding that the administration take action to reshape the judiciary, in order to offset the conservative influence of the previous eight years. The general public must be made aware of the urgency of reshaping the judiciary, as the number of years that we may have an ally in the highest office decreases.

While the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor was a commendable accomplishment, the public must understand the importance of the federal judiciary as a whole and how crucial Obama’s actions will prove to be. Thus, public education regarding the issue is at the forefront of this effort.

We also feel the administration should nominate capable and accomplished progressives to the bench, despite the threat of republican opposition. EJS’ vision of a fair and impartial judiciary is an attainable goal, and we are devoted to taking the steps necessary to accomplish it.

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