Today brings the sad news that Justice At Stake, an important court reform group of the past 16 years, has closed down due to funding woes. JAS had moved in recent years toward more explicit advocacy of merit selection, which did not sit well with some in its core donor base.
I had the great pleasure of working with Justice At Stake during my time with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), and I was consistently impressed how deftly and charismatically its leadership brought together reform groups from around the country. I made friends and colleagues from the Brennan Center for Justice, American Judicature Society, Lambda Legal, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, National Center for State Courts, and countless other organizations. Even when I disagreed with certain individuals on other matters of policy, I was always heartened by our shared conviction that the American courts deserved both reform and vigorous defense. It was a testament to the JAS leadership that we were always kept focused and on track. Its legacy is sure to last.