Rebecca Sandefur, a sociology professor in the School of Social and Family Dynamics, was awarded the Warren E. Burger Award during a meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators on Sept. 2.
The National Center for State Courts is the main professional organization for state chief justices and lead court administrators. This award recognizes the importance of data and rigorous analysis for effectively managing the court systems that hear over 90% of all court cases filed in this country. Most U.S. state courts are a long way from being able even to describe the work they do, and even further from being able to assess whether they are operating in ways that are equitable and open. To have the center highlight Sandefur’s work is a strong sign that courts are becoming award of the importance of data and empirical analysis for carrying out their responsibilities to provide open and equal access to justice.
“It's an honor to receive this award,” Sandefur says. “I started this line of work because I believed that access to civil justice is at a crisis point in the United States and requires urgent action. It's tremendously rewarding to know that that work has been useful in understanding and addressing that crisis.”