Alliance for Justice is a national association of more than 100 organizations dedicated to advancing justice and democracy. For over 30 years we have been leaders in the fight for a more equitable society on behalf of a broad constituency of environmental, consumer, civil and women’s rights, children’s, senior citizens’ and other groups. Alliance for Justice is premised on the belief that all Americans have the right to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives.
Over the course of three decades our vision has remained steadfast—to protect and expand pathways to justice and the democratic process—while our programs and tactics have been nimble and resilient, evolving with changing times and the needs of our members and the progressive community. AFJ is known for identifying and addressing threats to public interest and civil rights organizations, as well as opportunities they can seize. We pool resources and talents, organize campaigns, mobilize constituencies and drive strategies.
Through its Judicial Selection Project, Alliance for Justice monitors nominees to the federal bench at all levels, maintaining a database and other information on the prospective and current judges. The Project also engages in substantial education of the public and of senators to ensure that only fair, qualified, individuals committed to social justice are confirmed.
Volunteer Role and Responsibilities:
Each year, the Judicial Selection Project works with numerous volunteer law students who assist in the research for reports on nominees to the Circuit and Supreme Courts. The primary task assigned to most law student volunteers is reading and summarizing decisions that nominees have written as state or lower federal court judges. Summaries should be brief—one paragraph—and should include the basic facts and a description of the nominee’s decision, as well as the votes of other judges if the case was before a panel. The purpose of the summaries is twofold: to identify whether the nominee fairly applied the law, without taking into account his or her political agenda, and to flag any potential controversy surrounding the case. These summaries will often go directly into the comprehensive report AFJ puts out on each nominee.
Volunteering at AFJ is very flexible. Law student volunteers may pick up cases anytime during business hours, and they may work either at the office or from home. Volunteers choose the number of cases they take according to their available time, and they may email summaries back when they finish. Optimally, we would like to have summaries within about a week of the pick up date, but we recognize the rigors of law school and will be understanding if more time is needed.
Volunteers will be supervised by Michelle Schwartz, and she would be happy to answer any questions. Michelle can be reached at [email protected]