• Professor Nancy Marder

    Nancy S. Marder

    Professor of Law, Director of the Justice John Paul Stevens Jury Center, and Co-Director of the Institute for Law and the Humanities

    – Go to her faculty biography

    – Go to her publications:

       SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com
       Bepress: http://works.bepress.com/nancy_marder/

    Cameras and the Courtroom Dynamic

    by  • February 28, 2012 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Nancy Marder [via Jurist]


    Illinois, which has allowed cameras in its appellate courts and its supreme court since 1983, recently opened up its trial courts to cameras as part of a pilot program. Illinois is part of a growing movement to have cameras in the courtroom. This movement can be seen on the state level, not only in Illinois, but also in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and South Dakota. These states have amended their procedures to make them more accessible to cameras. All 50 states now permit cameras in their courts, albeit with various restrictions. On the federal level, the Judicial Conference recently approved a pilot program, which is being conducted by the Federal Judicial Center, in which 14 district courts are experimenting with cameras in the courtroom. Although the US Supreme Court has resisted permitting cameras during oral argument, Congress has been working on legislation that would allow cameras in the Supreme Court. On February 9, 2012, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-7 in favor of having cameras in the US Supreme Court. A similar bill, the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011, is still pending in the House Judiciary Committee.

    Leaving aside the constitutional question of one branch taking an action that does not respect the judgment of a coordinate branch, is permitting cameras in the courtroom a wise policy decision? Making courts accessible to citizens is important, but courts can do this in different ways, such as making audio and written transcripts available as quickly as possible. Cameras are not the only answer. Admittedly, the trend has been toward allowing cameras in courtrooms, but there are good policy reasons to stop short of having cameras in the courtroom, particularly in trial courts. At the very least, state and federal courts need to proceed cautiously and consider what is at stake. (more…)

    Women and Jury Service

    by  • August 30, 2010 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Nancy Marder [via Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Volume 156, Issue 168 (Aug. 27, 2010)]


    Aug. 26, 2010, marks the 90th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women in the United States the right to vote. The 19th Amendment delivered on its promise of suffrage, but did not deliver on one of the other badges of citizenship — jury service.

    It has taken about 90 years for us to reach the point where women are permitted to serve as jurors in federal and state courts, where official and unofficial practices no longer keep women from actually serving as jurors, and where society’s expectations are that both men and women will serve as jurors.

    As a sign that the aspirations of the suffragettes are finally being met, consider the trial of former governor Rod R. Blagojevich and his brother, Robert. The jury consisted of six men and six women. The equal number of men and women was neither commented upon nor criticized; rather, it was simply accepted.
    (more…)

    A New Development in Jury Instructions in Illinois

    by  • February 5, 2010 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Nancy Marder


    Improvements in our justice system often come about from many small steps that collectively make a big difference.  A great example occurred just this past year when Illinois, after several years of effort, made a rule change that requires that jurors in civil cases receive their own written copy of the jury instructions rather than having to a share a single copy.  It may not seem important at first glance, but think for a moment about how much lawyers and judges care about getting the jury instructions right because they know how important they are for explaining the law. Yet, despite all the effort that goes into writing the instructions, jurors have had to absorb the instructions by listening to the judge read them aloud.  How many courses would our students pass if they had to absorb an entire semester’s worth of material without being able to study from books or notes but had to depend on their memories or on a single copy of the materials that the class had to share?

    (more…)