Rodel Judicial Fellowship

A unique forum for leading federal judges and state supreme court justices to discuss democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

Rodel Judicial Fellowship

Strengthening America’s democracy cannot occur without a concerted focus on all three branches of government. A strong and independent judiciary forms the bedrock of American democracy. While fundamental, its continued existence (and that of our democratic system itself) cannot be assumed. The politicized judicial selection process, vocal jurisprudential disagreements in high profile cases, and acrimonious third-party rhetoric have created the appearance of a more fractured, more political, and less collegial judiciary.

The Rodel Judicial Fellowship is designed to reverse these trends. The goals of the Rodel Judicial Fellowship are simple but profound. We strive to give our Judicial Fellows:

  • New perspectives on the role of the judiciary in our democracy;
  • An opportunity to discuss and reflect upon our jurisprudential heritage;
  • Close personal connections with jurists of diverse backgrounds and beliefs; and
  • An immersion in comparative and international perspectives on judging and the rule of law.

The seminars combine reading-based discussions led by distinguished lawyers and law professors with workshops focused on leadership and the challenges of judicial work. Rodel Judicial Fellows read classical legal texts on American democracy from varying perspectives. The discussions are candid and confidential, allowing participants to fully examine their own ideas and explore those of their colleagues.

For more information, please contact Jeff King.

What Our People Say About Us


Class of 2024

Madeline Arleo

Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

Jane Bland

Justice, Texas Supreme Court

James Boasberg

Chief Judge, United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Elizabeth Branch

Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit

Sarah Campbell

Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court

Valerie Caproni

Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

Joel Carson

Judge, United States District Court for the Court of New Mexico

John Chun

Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

Elizabeth Clement

Chief Justice, Michigan Supreme Court

Matthew Fader

Chief Justice, Maryland Supreme Court

John Freudenberg

Justice, Nebraska Supreme Court

Anthony Johnstone

Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit

Erin Lynch-Prata

Justice, Rhode Island Supreme Court

Benita Pearson

Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Robert Shelby

Chief Judge, United States District Court for the District of Utah

Raag Singhal

Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Amul Thapar

Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit

Holly Thomas

Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit

Staci Yandle

Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Title and affiliation reflect position at time of selection to the Rodel Judicial Fellowship.

Latest News

2024 Edwards Book Award Shortlist Announced

The Rodel Institute is delighted to announce the shortlist finalists for its 2024 Edwards Book Award. The Edwards Book Award is an annual prize recognizing books that make an outstanding contribution to the understanding and practice of democracy and American politics. The prize carries an honorarium of $10,000. The Rodel Institute received a large volume of excellent book nominations this year. The following nonfiction books published in 2024 were selected as shortlist finalists. This year’s six finalists offer substantive perspectives on democratic values and leadership lessons on the challenges of balancing principles and pragmatism. The winning book will be announced in September. The…

Read more ➜

Inaugural Federal Executive Cohort Gathers for Second Seminar

The inaugural cohort of the Rodel Federal Executive Fellowship met for the second time in April in Charlottesville, Virginia. Twenty-three senior civil servants in the federal government gathered to discuss technological innovation in the public sector, the changing geopolitical landscape, and the evolving relationship between civil servants and political leaders. Fellows engaged in deep and meaningful discussions throughout the weekend. Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and former Executive Director of Code for America and author of Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better, guided the Fellows in a conversation on strategies for innovation in the face of bureaucratic obstacles. Richard Fontaine, Chief Executive Officer of…

Read more ➜

Rodel Judicial Class of 2023 Meets for Second Seminar

The 2023 Rodel Judicial Fellowship held its second seminar this month in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Hotel Condado Vanderbilt. Seventeen federal judges and supreme court justices from across the country gathered to discuss the role of judges in American democracy, constitutional interpretation, and leadership on and off of the bench. This weekend, like every Rodel seminar, was anchored by 100-120 pages of intense scholarly reading. Vibrant discussions on canons of statutory and constitutional interpretation were led by professors Alexandra Lahav of Cornell Law School and Benjamin Eidelson of Harvard Law School. Kaye Monk-Morgan, CEO of the Kansas Leadership…

Read more ➜