The Brennan Center has a new publication that tracks legislation targeting the independence of state courts.
In recent months, there has been much justified concern about the Trump administration’s attacks on the federal judiciary. The president’s assault on the legitimacy of a “so-called judge,” his assertion that the courts would be to blame for a terrorist attack, and his more recent call to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after it ruled against the administration all pose troubling threats to courts’ essential role in protecting rights and upholding the rule of law in our democracy.
During this same period, however, there has also been a quieter political push targeting state courts — which hear more than 95 percent of all cases nationwide, with more than 100 million cases coming before nearly 30,000 state court judges each year. In state legislatures across the country, a wave of bills this year has sought to limit courts’ power or politically manipulate the judiciary in troubling ways.