By Bob Glaves | CBF Executive Director
History was going to be made one way or another in last night’s Presidential election, and a lot will be written today and in the coming weeks about what it all means now that we know the outcome. While I’ll leave it others to opine on the larger consequences of last night’s verdict,* there is one question of particular import for those of us in the legal community: what does it mean for access to justice?
The answer to that question largely remains to be written, and as always has been true, our legal community will have a big say in what the answer will be. While we don’t yet know to what degree a President Trump will prioritize access to justice in his Administration, there is a lot that we do know, and some fundamental facts are just as true this morning and going forward as they were before the election.
First, we know that equal access to justice is fundamental to who we are as Americans and that there is broad bipartisan support at all levels of government for upholding these ideals. This is not a partisan issue, it is part of who we are as a country.
Second, we know from last night’s election results that large segments of the American people lack confidence in our government institutions right now, and the justice system is not exempt from the current mistrust. Faith in the ideals that we all have equal opportunity and will get a fair shake under the law is flagging, and we all should view that as a call to action to restore that confidence.
And finally, we know that we as legal community are the trustees of the justice system. It is our responsibility to take the lead to ensure the justice system lives up to its ideals, and we’ve got a lot of work to do on that front. Our responsibility will only be heightened in the coming political transition that last night’s election portends.
Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or have just given up on politics, ensuring the justice system is fair and accessible for everyone is something each of us in the legal community can and must unite around as our common cause. The CBF remains your foundation to join together with your colleagues in the profession to do just that, and together we can continue to make an impact in advancing access to justice that none of us could on our own. And that is just as true after last night’s election as ever.
Join us next week for the CBF’s Advocacy Workshop to learn more about what the election means for access to justice and how you can get involved.
* One essay that I recommend in particular appeared in the Wall Street Journal last weekend, and focuses on healing the sizable divisions in our country right now that would have been present no matter who won last night’s election.