The Courts and Constitutional Democracy in America

May 01, 2012 // 5:00pm7:00pm

This event is part of The American Bar Association's 2012 Leon Jaworski Public Program Series.

Since 2001, the American Bar Association Division for Public Education has conducted the Leon Jaworski public program series to commemorate Law Day. The Jaworski public programs have examined themes of law, politics, and culture and have operated on the premise that exploring fundamental legal identities and attributes help us better understand who we are as Americans.

The Courts and Constitutional Democracy in America Framing Questions

1. What is the proper role of the courts in our constitutional democracy? Are American courts democratic institutions? Should they be?

2. Are our courts fair and impartial? What does it mean for the courts to be independent? Why is judicial independence important?

3. What must be done to maintain public confidence in our courts? Is that confidence undermined when the courts lack adequate funding? Does inadequate funding indicate a lack of confidence in the courts, or a lack of awareness of their importance?

4. Should the courts have to depend on legislatures for funding? What can be done to ensure that courts have adequate resources to perform their essential role in our constitutional democracy?

5. Does inadequate support for American courts destabilize our system of checks and balances? Does it threaten constitutional guarantees? Endanger our core values?

6. Why do courts matter, and to whom do they matter? To whom are courthouse doors open and to whom are they closed? What challenges do we face in maintaining and expanding access to justice? How can we meet those challenges?


ABA Standing Committee on Public Education
    Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
    Federation of State Humanities Councils
Justice at Stake
League of Women Voters of the United States
National Center for State Courts

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
  • Vice President, The Aspen Institute
  • Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Senior Research Scholar in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence, Yale Law School
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