Educating the Public, Strengthening Courts
Tools to Build Bridges
More than two in five— 44%—Americans drew a blank and couldn’t name any branches of government.
NCSC commissioned survey asking respondents whether they could name any of the three branches performed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
Our Courts America was created in the belief that interactive, direct, and broad educational efforts will help the public understand and appreciate the importance of well-funded, effective, and impartial courts. Our program rests on two foundations: access to a set of educational and planning tools that is easy to use, and the personal engagement of judges and court professionals in outreach to their communities.
Our Courts America will provide downloadable tools that can be used to build a program tailored to individual communities, as well as links to successful court education programs currently in use. The tools will include multimedia resources as well as models for interactive lessons.
Our partner organizations can advise on logistics, outreach and planning, making it easier for local advocates to set up their own education programs.
Not only do we believe that this program will create more opportunities for judges to interact with the public in a way that builds familiarity and confidence, we also believe that courts could benefit from a dedicated advocacy group working on their behalf. Our Courts America seeks to create a group of concerned organizations and leaders that can build bridges between court professionals and the public and help raise awareness of the public service performed by judges and courts.
We believe that these efforts will erode support for political tampering with courts, and also that filling the ”knowledge gap” will have a direct impact on court resources. A recent report by Justice at Stake and the National Center for State Courts, Funding Justice, found that raising awareness about the vital role of the courts is essential if courts are to be spared the budget ax that threatens their ability to function.
“Each day, more than 25,000 judicial officers in the U.S. conduct proceedings in hundreds of thousands of cases. It is their responsibility to ensure that those proceedings fairly and impartially afford each party equal protection of the law. This is the rule of law at work in America. It will thrive only as long as our people understand and protect it. This is the task that is being undertaken by Our Courts America and the many public education programs with which it is affiliated. Please help us help America understand and protect the rule of law.”
—Judge Russell Carparelli, Colorado Court of Appeals.
Together, We Can Do It
Help us spread the word about Our Courts America in your community.