Berkeley Judicial Institute

The Berkeley Judicial Institute (BJI)’s mission is to build bridges between judges and academics and to promote an ethical, resilient and independent judiciary. Read more about its mission.

Colloquium: Courts & Judicial Process

Room 113
Monday, March 4
10:00 a.m. (PT)

Transparency in Judicial Proceedings

Authors: Damon Cann & Gregg Goelzhauser (Utah State)
Commentator: Judge Edward Chen (N.D. Cal.)

Abstract
The Impact of Oral Argument Attendance” by Prof. Damon Cann & Prof. Gregg Goelzhauser

How does oral argument attendance impact public perceptions of the judiciary? Judicial independence is partly contingent on public support, but the conditions that generate institutional good will are not well understood. We examine how judicial outreach and court exposure inform public attitudes. Leveraging a field-experiment randomizing in-person attendance at oral arguments conducted by a federal circuit court of appeals on a university campus, we find that exposure increases perceptions of institutional legitimacy and the extent to which judicial decisions are motivated by law versus politics. The results have important implications for judicial politics and policy debates concerning reform initiatives involving circuit riding, courtroom cameras, and public outreach.


BJI News

“Skeptical Bench”

January 9, 2024

BJI Executive Director Judge Jeremy Fogel (ret) spoke to CBC about some of the legal and political implications of the immunity arguments under consideration in former President Trump’s appellate case.

Watch now — “Skeptical Bench”