By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Room for Improvement

September 1, 1999

Room for Improvement
Type: Law review article
Source: Student Law.
Citation: 28 Student Law. 23 (1999)
Notes: Date is approximate

Article Text


Room for Improvement

Although public confidence in the justice system is relatively high, several aspects of the courts call for reform

I work in a building that bears a marble inscription over the entrance that says "Equal Justice Under Law." Everyone involved in our profession (including law students preparing to enter it) would do wen to remember that public trust in the justice system is critically important as a dimension of equal justice under law.

Two 1999 national surveys by the American Bar Association and the National Center for State Courts reveal a fairly high level of public confidence in our courts. There is a widely held belief that, although not perfect, our justice system is one of the best in the world. The public's faith in our system has in creased over the last 20 years, even as confidence in other public institutions has.declined. But the surveys also show substantial dissatisfaction in some areas.and many opportunities for increasing public trust in the justice system.

Among the areas that affect public attitudes toward the justice system are Juvenile and family courts, bias in the courts and court-community relations, the jury system, and access to justice-issues of my own longtime concern.

Many other issues are certainly as import.ant My failure to include them here by no means indicates that I consider them unworthy of attention.

The first item on my list of concerns is the need to strengthen juvenile and family courts. This need often has been

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