Brennan Center Research
Recent publications from the Brennan Center include The New Politics of Judicial Elections and How Judicial Elections Impact Criminal Cases.
- Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-14 (2015) — Since 2000, the Brennan Center's The New Politics of Judicial Elections series has documented the alarming rise of money in judicial elections, the dramatic upsurge in special interest group involvement, and the tendency of judicial campaigns to become "noisier, nastier and costlier." See reports from past election cycles here.
- How Judicial Elections Impact Criminal Cases (2015) — Pressures of upcoming re-election campaigns make judges more punitive toward defendants in criminal cases, according to a growing body of empirical research.
- Judicial Retention in Hawaii: A Case Study (2016) -- This analysis looks at the use of nominating commissions for judicial retention, a system which is unique to Hawaii. It finds that many of its features help promote a nonpartisan and independent judiciary, but that it could be improved by increased transparency.
- Judicial Selection: A Look at California (2017) -- This analysis looks at California's judicial appointment system, and finds that while this method is effective in California, it may not have sufficient built-in safeguards to successfully export the model to other jurisdictions.
- Diversity on the Bench: Not Just an American Problem (2017) -- This analysis examines Canada's recent changes in judicial selection. It examines reasons Canada's judiciary, like that of the U.S., fails to reflect the diversity of its population.
- Building a Diverse Bench: A Guide for Judicial Nominating Commissioners (2016) — This new resource provides nominating commissioners with concrete guidance on the steps they can take to promote a more diverse bench.
- Improving Judicial Diversity (2009) — This study examines how successful states with appointed judiciaries are at recruiting and appointing women and racial minorities to sit on the bench, aiming to provide an accurate picture of the diversity in state courts and a roadmap of how to improve diversity on the state bench.
- Promoting Fair and Impartial Courts Through Recusal Reform (2011) — To assist state courts in responding to the need for recusal reform, the Brennan Center for Justice has collected model rules that provide a blueprint for state implementation.
- Fair Courts: Setting Recusal Standards (2008) — This paper focuses on how judges, courts, legislators, and litigants can maximize the due process protection that stronger recusal rules potentially afford, offering ten proposals to strengthen the fairness and legitimacy of state recusal systems.
See our resource page for more information on Judicial Refusal Reform.