On Civic Learning
Revitalizing K-12 Civic Learning in California: A Blueprint for Action
The final report by the California Task Force Report on K-12 Civic Learning (August 2014). Oversight of the implementation of report recommendations led by the Power of Democracy Steering Committee chaired by Appellate Court Justice Judith McConnell.
Civics Education Initiative
A coalition of grassroots activists working with state and local leaders to ensure each new generation has the knowledge they need to become informed, engaged citizens. Requires high school students, as a condition for graduation, to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics, from the United States Citizenship Civics Test.
Civics Renewal Network
A consortium of nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations committed to strengthening civic life in the U.S. by increasing the quality of civics education in our nation’s schools and by improving accessibility to high-quality, no-cost learning materials. Recommended resources for teachers searchable by subject, grade, resource type, standards, and teaching strategy.
A non-profit organization founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and dedicated to reinvigorating civic learning through interactive learning resources. Provides students with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action, and teachers with the materials and support to achieve this.
A resource for teachers to engage students with current issues using social media tools. From KQED Public Media.
On Civic Engagement
Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
Conducts research on civic education in schools, colleges, and community settings and on young Americans’ voting and political participation, service, activism, media use, and other forms of civic engagement.
Test yourself on 100 questions from the naturalization test administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Constitutional Rights Foundation
Los Angeles-based nonprofit seeks to instill a deeper understanding of citizenship through values expressed in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and to educate youth to become active and responsible participants in our society. Founded in 1962.
Public Policy Institute of California
Nonpartisan think tank dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective research.
On Judicial Independence
U.S. Constitution, Article Three
The authority for “the judicial power of the United States” describes the court system and the right to trial by jury in all criminal cases.
Federalist No. 47
James Madison’s paper examining the separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government under the proposed United States Constitution. Published in January 1788 under the pseudonym Publius.
Federalist No. 51
Another famous essay by Madison concerns means by which appropriate checks and balances can be created in government and also advocates a separation of powers within the national government.
California Constitution, Article Six
The authority for the state judiciary and structure of the court system.
American Bar Association Justice Center
The ABA’s Judicial Division is made up of judges, lawyers, court administrators, academics and students interested in the courts and the justice system. It’s Standing Committee on Judicial Independence serves as the ABA’s clearinghouse of information on judicial independence and judicial selection.
American Judicature Society
An independent, non-partisan, membership organization working nationally to protect the integrity of the American justice system. Promotes fair and impartial courts through research, publications, education, and advocacy for judicial reform.
Brennan Center for Justice
Nonpartisan law and policy institute at New York University School of Law that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. The center’s Justice Program seeks to create a rational and effective criminal and civil justice system that treats all people fairly and equally.
Justice at Stake
Washington, D.C. based nonprofit dedicated to keeping courts fair and impartial by educating the public and working for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom.
National Association for Women Judges
Jurists dedicated to preserving judicial independence, ensuring equal justice and access to the courts for women, minorities and other historically disfavored groups, providing judicial education, and increasing the numbers and advancement of women judges. Sponsors of the Informed Voters Project and the award-winning documentary Fair and Free.
Separation of Powers: Judicial Independence
Paper by Senator Sam Ervin, then Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee. Law and Contemporary Problems (Duke Law), Winter 1970.
Dynamics of Judicial Independence: Independent Judges, Dependent Judiciary
Paper by Professor John Ferejohn, Stanford University. NYU Law Review, 1998.
Independent Judges, Dependent Judiciary: Institutionalizing Judicial Restraint
Paper by Professsors John Ferejohn and Larry Kramer, Stanford University. NYU Law Review, October 2002.