Funding Justice: Strategies and Messages for Restoring Court Funding

Source: Justice at Stake and National Center for State Courts, 2012

From the summary:
Early in 2012, NCSC joined forces with Justice at Stake to examine what strategies and messages could help courts make a stronger case for court funding.

Together we commissioned a nationwide opinion research project to understand how to better tell the story of the courts–to the public, the media, and the legislators who shape budgets. The project included research, focus groups, a nationwide poll of American voters, and one-on-one interviews with Chief Justices, legislators, and others who have been closely involved in the debates around court funding in the states.

The resulting guide — Funding Justice: Strategies and Messages for Restoring Court Funding — builds on more than a year of work. It contains important lessons, some of them counter-intuitive, about how people view the courts and their funding needs. It explains how to tell the story of the courts, and why they matter, in an era when the public is very focused on government austerity. It includes a section on working with budget policymakers, based on interviews conducted around the country.

The recommendations that underlie Sections 1 and 2 of this guide are based on findings from focus groups and a national public opinion survey. Six focus groups were held in Richmond, Virginia; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Phoenix, Arizona, between February 13-23, 2012. The public opinion survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted between April 2-5, 2012. Recommendations within Section 3 are based on extensive telephone interviews between representatives of GBA Strategies and budget policymakers in the states of Kentucky, Oregon and Utah. Those interviews included state Chief Justices, state court administrators, legislators, legislative staff, and others with an intimate knowledge of the court budgeting process.

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