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Rebuilding Justice: Civil Courts in Jeopardy and Why You Should Careby Rebecca Love Kourlis
Synopses & Reviews
"We are blessed with many excellent judges and court staff . . . but they and all the rest of us have an obligation to work hard to improve the system so that it is both impartial and accountable."—From the foreword by Sandra Day O'Connor
Over the past several decades, the civil justice process has become alarmingly expensive, politicized, and lengthy. Though the court system lies at the heart of American democracy, it often does not meet the legitimate needs of the people, resulting in a rift between citizens and their own legal system. With a system that hasn't seen major reform since 1938, it's inevitable that there are shortcomings and misunderstandings. The situation is precarious, but not hopeless. In Rebuilding Justice, Rebecca Love Kourlis and Dirk Olin illuminate why the courts are critical and how they are being eroded, defaced, and undermined. While covering complex issues such as civil justice reform, judicial selection and performance evaluation, and domestic relations, Kourlis and Olin propose practical solutions to improve the efficiency, accessibility, and integrity of America's civil courts. An important portrait of the American judicial system, Rebuilding Justice is a call to action for all Americans to take the steps necessary to fix, support, and protect this crucial cornerstone of our democracy.
Rebecca Love Kourlis is the founder and executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, a former justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, a former District Court Judge, and a former trial judge. She holds undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University.
Dirk Olin is a legal affairs journalist who currently serves as editor and publisher of Corporate Responsibility Magazine. He holds a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and a master's degree from Northwestern Journalism School.
Book News Annotation:
Kourlis (founder of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and former Colorado Supreme Court judge) and Olin (a legal affairs journalist who is editor and publisher of Corporate Responsibility Magazine) present an agenda for civil court reform for the United States, arguing that the process has become corrupted in a manner that is undermining the ability of civil courts to play the role for which they were intended by the Founders. Among the problems they address are the intrusion of politics and money into judicial elections, the decreasing role of the jury in civil trial suits, legislative interference in court priorities exacerbated by falling court budgets that serve to de-prioritize civil cases, failure to update the rules of civil court procedure, documentary overload caused by changes in information technology and outmoded rules of documentary discovery, and excessive litigation costs. They further address how these factors play out in the realm of divorce court, the views of court insiders on needed reform, and their vision of "citizen-centered" courts. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book is a civics lesson for the court system, a call to action, and a manning of the ramparts.
The court system lies at the heart of our democracy, and it is in jeopardy. The selection of judges has become a political free-for-all, ill suited to achieving an impartial bench. The civil justice process is breathtakingly expensive, time-consuming, and hidden—dealing jury trials out of the mix and eroding public trust and confidence. In the context of family cases, the system polarizes and penalizes parties seeking resolution of their disputes. It is a dire picture. Yet, innovation is not only possible, it is happening. These problems have solutions—and the courts have problem solvers, some of which speak out in this book. To protect and fix the courts, we must first understand them. Rebuilding Justice is a civics lesson, a call to action, and a manning of the ramparts. A provocative and important portrait of the American judicial system.
Rebecca Love Kourlis is the executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver. She served for eleven years as a justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, and eight years as a trial court judge in northwestern Colorado. She holds undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the ABA Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Judicial Administration in 2009; Regis University Civis Princeps Award in 2008; and the Colorado Judicial Institutes 2006 Judicial Independence Award. She is married to Tom Kourlis, a sheep and cattle rancher and former commissioner of agriculture in Colorado. They have three children.
Dirk Olin is the editor and publisher of Corporate Responsibility Magazine. The former national editor of The American Lawyer magazine, Olin has written for The New York Times op-ed pages and magazine, The New Republic, and Slate, among others.
The court system lies at the heart of our democracy, and it is in jeopardy. But, innovation is not only possible- it is happening. To protect and fix the courts, we must first understand them. Rebuilding Justice is a civics lesson, a call to action, and a manning of the ramparts.
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