ORIGIN OF STATE TASK FORCES
- NJEP's judicial education programs inspired a series of task forces established by state chief justices and federal circuit councils to examine gender bias in their own court systems. The task forces documented discriminatory court decisions, policies, and practices and recommended reforms to eradicate these barriers to equal justice.
- NJEP has provided technical assistance to the task forces in all phases of their work as investigating bodies, implementation committees and standing committees of the courts. Task forces in more than 40 states and seven federal circuits are now in various stages of data collection, implementing recommendations and institutionalizing reforms.
- At its 1988 annual meeting, the Conference of Chief Justices adopted a resolution urging every Chief Justice to establish a task force "devoted to the study of gender bias in the courts." In 1999, the National Conference on Public Trust and Confidence in the Justice System, attended by teams from every state that included the chief justice, state court administrator and state bar president, voted to make implementing the recommendations of the task forces on gender, race and ethnic bias in the courts a priority.
- The findings of the forty-one task force reports are summed up in this quotation from the Report of the New York Task Force on Women in the Courts: “The Task Force has concluded that gender bias against women litigants, attorneys and court employees is a pervasive problem with grave consequences. Women are often denied equal justice, equal treatment and equal opportunity." (link)
- The reports of the task forces on gender bias in the courts have now been cited in more than one hundred state and federal judicial opinions in cases ranging from divorce to rape to murder. These include cases reversing judicial decisions because of overt gender-bias and sanctioning attorneys for gender biased conduct.
TASK FORCE EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
NJEP developed several publications describing how to establish and operate a gender bias task force, implement its recommendations, and evaluate its impact.
- Gender Fairness in the Courts: Action in the New Millenium A 15-point implementation plan to achieve gender fairness in the courts from the Gender Fairness Strategies Project and NJEP. This manual provides a guide to integrate and institutionalize strategies to address gender fairness and access in the courts. June 2001
- Gender Fairness Strategies Project: Implementation Resources Directory A compilation of readily-replicated steps taken by state courts nationwide in response to the recommendations of their task forces on gender bias in the courts, such as bench books, codes of conduct complaint procedures, implementation of gender-neutral language, and legislation in substantive law areas. January 1998
- Learning From the New Jersey Supreme Court Task Force on Women in the Courts: Evaluation, Recommendations and Implications for Other States NJEP was the catalyst for a series of task forces to examine gender bias in court systems across the country. New Jersey was the first state to establish a Supreme Court Task Force on Women in the Courts. This article assesses the status of the New Jersey task force's recommendations and evaluates the task force’s impact on substantive judicial decision-making and the treatment of women in court environments. May 1991
- Planning for Evaluation: Guidelines for Task Forces on Gender Bias in the Courts This manual provides evaluation guidelines for every stage of creating, implementing, and institutionalizing task forces on gender bias in the courts. September 1989
- Operating a Task Force on Gender Bias in the Courts: A Manual for Action This manual provides strategies for creating, implementing, and institutionalizing task forces on gender bias in the courts. It provides information on data collection, dissemination, how to implement and monitor reforms, and more.
- State Task Force Reports: Contact Legal Momentum's National Judicial Education Program for information on the State Task Force Reports.