American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review - Volume 57


Used by permission.


This statement from the Washington Supreme Court Open Letter, issued after Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020, reflects both an acknowledgment of responsibility and a commitment to action. The Washington Supreme Court’s letter was one of many written by courts and individual judges across the United States, who felt compelled to speak out about racial injustice and our role as keepers of a system called Justice. Questions quickly followed: Are those who speak out against racial injustice taking sides on a social issue? What can a judge do or say within the ethical constraints of codes of judicial conduct? How can courts as neutral arbiters of disputes address systemic racism in the court system?