The COVID-19 pandemic will change the American judicial system. In fact, it already has. Historic court processes, protected by the cloak of tradition, have changed instantly, with a speed that was inconceivable before. Necessity has generated new approaches to court practices; most have worked. And more significant changes are underway, as temporary delays yield to longer term reforms. Physical distancing continues and we must adjust to it.
Because we are at the forefront of reinventing the way the American judicial system functions, we have the opportunity to improve our system in sustained and meaningful ways. We have the chance to implement changes that our studies on efficiencies and access to justice have long suggested. We have the potential to enhance the legal system from the perspective of the rule of law.
Moreover, we have the opportunity to improve our system with a speed and effectiveness that few could imagine. As we do so through the extraordinary efforts of federal and state courts right now, we should consider the framework of the World Justice Project’s (WJP) Rule of Law Index as a guide to ensure that we are moving in the direction of our aspirations.
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