Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century (2008-2011)

Thinking expansively about the role of state judiciaries as instruments of democratic governance, the Executive Session set out to both develop and answer questions that U.S. state courts will face in the foreseeable future. Specifically, through its six meetings spanning over three years, it endeavored to clarify what leaders of state courts can and should do to distinguish their role in our system of democratic governance.

Support for the project was provided to Harvard Kennedy School by the National Center for State Courts in part through grants provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the State Justice Institute.

In discussions over the course of three years, Executive Session members explored a broad array of themes, including the use of budget crises as adaptive challenges to court leaders, identification of essential principles for effective court governance, the tension between problem solving and decision making, the challenges social media pose to court legitimacy, how courts defend themselves from political attack, and the notion of chief justice as civic leader as opposed to mere governmental branch or political leader. Many topics were developed by members into papers that will be published in a series by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

This page will be updated with papers produced by members of the Executive Session.


  • Jeff Amestoy, Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School; Chief Justice, Vermont Supreme Court, Retired,
  • David Barron, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Daniel Becker, State Court Administrator, Utah Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Michael Bridenback, Trial Court Administrator, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Tampa, FL)
  • Russell Brown, Court Administrator, Cleveland Municipal Court
  • John Cleland, Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania
  • Paul DeMuniz, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Oregon
  • Christine Durham, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Utah
  • Ted Eisenberg, Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
  • Rosalyn Frierson, State Court Administrator, South Carolina Judicial Department
  • Thomas Gottschalk, Of Counsel at Kirkland & Ellis
  • Garrett Graff, Editor-in-Chief, Washingtonian Magazine
  • James Hannah, Chief Justice, Arkansas Supreme Court
  • Vicki Jackson, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Wallace Jefferson, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas
  • Margaret Marshall, Chief Justice, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Retired
  • Mary McQueen, President, National Center for State Courts
  • Mee Moua, Vice President for Strategic Impact Initiatives, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF); Senator, Minnesota Senate, Retired
  • Barbara Rodriguez Mundell, Presiding Judge, Superior Court of AZ, Maricopa County, Retired
  • Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • Greg Rowe, Chief of Legislation and Policy Unit, Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
  • Randall Shepard, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Indiana
  • Jed Shugerman, Assistant Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Christopher Stone, Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Michael Trickey, Judge, King County Superior Court
  • William Vickrey, Administrative Director, California Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Eric Washington, Chief Judge, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
  • Julie Boatright Wilson, Harry Kahn Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School