Why Courts Matter – Nevadans for Judicial Progress

In 2013, PLAN and ProgressNow Nevada joined forces  with the Legal Progress program at the Center for American Progress to bring much-needed attention to the importance of the federal courts and the challenges now common in the process to fill judicial vacancies. The project,  Nevadans for Judicial Progress, joins groups in several other states in this initiative. ProgressNow Nevada and PLAN will manage and organize the public education, grassroots advocacy, and communications program to promote and build support in Nevada for the core values of promoting a more progressive judiciary.

For more than three decades conservative forces have systematically worked to push our judicial branch in a decidedly right wing and pro-corporate direction at the cost of civil liberties to everyday Americans. Considering the Supreme Court decides on only a small number of cases each year, it is astonishing to think of the setbacks in progressive gains made over the course of generations that could be caused by this imbalance and meddling in the judicial branch.

The Supreme Court 2012-2013 term is already packed with cases with the potential to further erode corporate accountability and limit everyday Americans’ civil rights and access to justice. They will soon hand down decisions on  challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, California’s Proposition 8, and the Voting Rights Act. The Court’s decisions this term could have disastrous consequences for the ability of consumers, victims of discrimination, human rights plaintiffs, organized labor, environmental activists, and others to get a fair day in court.

To further impede and complicate the process, some members of the U.S. Senate have taken up tactics ranging from delay to outright obstructionism to deny the President’s nominees an open and fair evaluation of their qualifications to serve on the bench. Some have even gone so far as to begin work on reducing the number of judges in the Federal Circuit as well as Federal District courts already struggling under the weight of their caseloads.

This must end; the Senate must carry out its duty to ‘advice and consent’ so that our crucial third branch of government can carry out its constitutional duties. Nothing short of our civil liberties and our system of checks and balances is at stake.

To learn more about federal judicial nominations and the Legal Progress program, visit the Center for American Progress.


Read the Statement of Common Principles and sign on to Nevadans for Judicial Progress.