American Judges Association


Date of this Version

July 2004


Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 41:2 (2004), pp. 4-8. Copyright © 2004 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission. Online at


Nearly 100 years ago, Roscoe Pound gave his famous speech entitled “The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice.” Pound spoke of three things that contributed to the dissatisfaction he perceived during his time: first, a belief by the people that the administration of justice is easy; second, the historical tension between the branches of government; and, finally, what he described as the sporting theory of justice. While Pound’s focus was on why the public was dissatisfied, it is axiomatic that the causes of the popular dissatisfaction with the administration of justice are the fuel for present threats to judicial independence. Simply put, we have not effectively met the fundamental challenge of reducing the causes of popular dissatisfaction with justice and, until we are more effective in meeting this challenge, the independence of the judiciary will remain at risk.

Today the dissatisfaction with the administration of justice is at a level that none of us should tolerate or accept because it threatens our democracy as much as any terrorist. Thus, the nation’s dissatisfaction with the administration of justice is a central issue of homeland security.

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