• Date:  3:30-5:30 PM; 6:00-8:00 PM, June 2, 2012

    Location:  Smith Center for Undergraduate Learning, Room 202, Washington State University; Banyan's on the Ridge restaurant, Pullman, Washington

  • On Law Day, May 1, 2012, the League of Women Voters of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, announced the conclusion of their judicial diversity media competition for area high school students,

  • Date:  May 19, 2012

    Location:  12-3 PM, YWCA Ballroom, Bellingham, Washington

    Event:  Annual Meeting

  • "Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary" Logo

    Since 2001, the League of Women Voters of the United States has worked to promote the importance of fair and impartial courts nationwide.

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  • Date:  7 PM, May 1

    Location:  Lyon County Courthouse, Emporia, Kansas

    Event:  Panel Discussion

  • Today, May 1, Leagues around the country are observing Law Day, the annual celebration of our nation's commitment to the rule of law  This year's American Bar Association Law Day theme--"No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom"--seeks to underscore the importance of the courts in ensuring access to justice for all Americans.

  • Today is Law Day and what better occasion to highlight the serious consequences of an underfunded justice system for our country.  “While these are difficult economic times, the failure to fund the justice system is deleterious to American democracy.” Read our full Law Day statement.

  • Washington, DC (May 1, 2012) – The League of Women Voters today raised serious concerns about the funding crisis that faces our nation’s judicial systems.  May 1 is Law Day and what better occasion to highlight the serious consequences of an underfunded justice system for our country.

    “While these are difficult economic times, the failure to fund the justice system is deleterious to American democracy,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national President of the League of Women Voters.  “The justice system is essential to an effective, sustainable democracy and it must be well funded in order to ensure public trust.”

    “Underfunded courts fail to fulfill the promise of the Constitution that every citizen has the right to his or her day in court.” MacNamara said.  “Public trust in government has been battered, and handicapping our democracy by underfunding the judicial system adds to that mistrust.”

    According to the League, public trust and support for the courts is eroded by the most egregious effects of underfunding the judiciary: decreasing court services and thereby delaying judicial proceedings. 

    One means to address the problem, said MacNamara, is that “we should give courts as much control over their own budgets as possible.” “Budgetary control coupled with better communication between courts and state and local budget offices will go a long way in helping to alleviate this problem.”

    The League also believes that developing and sharing best practices in court funding models as well as determining national assessment standards for court administrators will help increase transparency and effective budgeting practices.  “Finally, in states where there is no legislative mandate,” said MacNamara, “lawmakers should consider introducing legislation that sets a percentage of the state budget for the judiciary.”

    “It is understandable during tight economies to cut back wherever possible, but underfunding justice is a risk we simply should not be willing to take,” concluded MacNamara.

    CONTACT:  Kelly Ceballos, kceballos@lwv.org

  • This past weekend, I visited a League at the far northwestern tip of the United States--only about 50 miles south of Vancouver, Canada--to attend "Access and Justice for All," a three-hour seminar that included a keynote speech, panel discussion, and question-and-answer session to explore diversity and the courts in Washington state.

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