Today, the People’s Parity Project released a report assessing the impact of professional background on Connecticut Supreme Court opinions, finding that judges with pro-people backgrounds are more likely to side with people over powerful interests like corporations or the state. You can view the full report here.
Since 2021, the Biden administration has taken deliberate steps to increase the professional diversity of the federal judiciary by nominating more judges with experience in legal aid, public defense, and civil rights law. But while significant strides have been made at the federal level, the same cannot be said of Connecticut’s state courts. At the appellate level in particular, the bench is dominated by former corporate attorneys and prosecutors; very few judges at any level of the Connecticut judiciary have experience representing workers, renters, or criminal defendants.
State courts hold incredible sway over the lives of Connecticut residents. They have jurisdiction when workers are hurt or discriminated against on the job, consumers striving to hold corporations accountable, renters trying to stay in their homes as well as criminal trials that literally determine matters of life and death. The Supreme Court has the final say on what the state’s laws and Constitution actually mean, and there are very few voices for the people on the court. Connecticut needs more diverse voices on its courts to ensure that people are protected from the powerful.