Through Its Piper Fund Initiative, The Proteus Fund Works to Educate Communities About Judicial Independence
Community support for independent judiciaries is key to their continued development and existence. However, this support can be a challenge to build, given the political and social diversity of individuals and organizations whose lives are directly impacted by state court decisions.
While the legal community has professional knowledge concerning attacks on judicial independence and their negative impact, the general public is often unaware of how crucial an independent court system is to their own lives.
The Piper Fund, an initiative of the Proteus Fund, is a donor collaborative that works to build a healthy democracy for all and includes a focus on judicial independence. The Piper Fund contracted Goodwin Simon Strategic Research to identify effective messages promoting judicial independence, with specific emphasis on state supreme courts. Focus groups consisting of people from four states, who were not members of the legal community, met for four days to discuss judicial independence. Initially, participants expressed low levels of concern or awareness about attacks against the courts. However, when provided with examples of real assaults against state judicial independence, they became extremely concerned and somewhat embarrassed that they were unaware of the attacks. This concern was expressed regardless of race, gender, or political persuasion...