Trusting the Courts: Redressing the State Court Funding Crisis

Michael J. Graetz, Columbia Law School

This is the author's final version. It has been accepted for publication in Daedalus, published by MIT Press.


In recent years, state courts have suffered serious funding reductions that have threatened their ability to resolve criminal and civil cases in a timely fashion. Proposals for addressing this state court funding crisis have emphasized public education and the creation of coalitions to influence state legislatures. These strategies are unlikely to succeed, however, and new institutional arrangements are necessary. Dedicated state trust funds using specific state revenue sources to fund courts offer the most promise for adequate and stable state court funding.