Of course, the access to justice (ATJ) movement is resolutely non-partisan, as exemplified by its endorsement by the Conference of Chief Justices.
But that does not stop it being part of the bulwark of value-driven institutions that help hold the line against lawlessness.
One: Public Support for the Courts. For nearly 20 years the ATJ movement has been working to increase public trust and confidence in the courts. This has not been a propaganda and messaging enterprise. Rather, and much more importantly, it has done so by mkaing the cours more worthy of that trust and confidence. By showing that courts can be accessible to all, we have gained them support and respect. It does not take a genius to see that trust in the courts strengthens them in their ability to play the constraining role that they have so successfully and critically played in the last two years.
Two: Importance and Acheivability of Neutrality. Central to the ATJ movement has been the assertion that neutrality in courts can and must be achieved, and that it is the courts responsibility to act institutionally to create and protect effective, not just formal, neutrality. Given that the essence of Trumpism is to deny the possibility of such norms, every effort to achieve neutrality, particularly by a core institution such as the courts, strengthens all attempts to maintain norms in the face of these attacks.
Three: Neutrality and value-driven Institutions. To put it another way, the ATJ movement has shown that institutions that are required to be neutral can nonetheless be forceful in protection of their values. Just like the fact that judicial neutrality does not require passivity in getting the facts, nor does neutrality require passivity in the face of the need to make the system accessible. So, generally neutral institutions are not prohibited from acting in support of their values, be it education, health or whatever.
So, when you grandkids ask you “what you did in the war to protect against Trumpism,” if are are in the ATJ movement, you have your pride now, and your answer then.
Thanks to all.