The public is increasingly concerned with disinformation and misinformation around elections. However, they have far less knowledge about a sinister and concerted effort to erode judicial independence as a pillar of democracy in America, as documented in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ reports, “Beyond the Ballot: How the Kremlin Works to Undermine the U.S. Justice System” and, “Why Putin Targets Minorities.” While not commanding much public attention, these efforts have been intensifying and gaining ground.
It is already well documented that special interest groups within the United States are seeking to control the US Justice System as highlighted in the Piper-commissioned report, Conquering the Courts: The Religious Right’s Fight to Rig the Rules and Undermine Judicial Independence. In response, the Piper Fund has been supporting groups advocating for judicial independence for the past nine years.
This year, in response to the increased efforts of international attempts to influence our democracy, Piper’s judicial independence program commissioned the New Tactics in Human Rights Project at the Center for Victims of Torture to interview a wide spectrum of people, to both better understand the parameters of the issue and suggestions for reform. Those interviewed include grassroot activists, academics, lawyers, journalists, a retired judge, and communications specialists. The attached report highlights root causes, opponent and ally tactics, and recommendations for reform.