Established in 2005 and considered a model among the nation’s courts for addressing bias, the Interbranch Commission applies the resources of all three government branches to implement the findings and recommendations of the 2003 study by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System. Specifically, pursuant to its Mission Statement, the Commission seeks to “raise both public and professional awareness of the impact of race, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability on the fair delivery of justice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; suggest ways to reduce or eliminate such bias or invidious discrimination within all branches of government and within the legal profession; and increase public confidence in the fairness of all three branches of government in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
Directed by Attorney Maraleen Shields, the Commission’s membership consists of 24 diverse individuals appointed by the three Pennsylvania government branches. The work of the Commission is conducted through six committees, including Criminal Justice, Jury Service, Interpreter Services, LGBTQ Rights, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims/Survivors, and Equal Opportunity and Diversity. In addition to Commission members, the Committees include experts throughout the Commonwealth on the particular subject matter of each Committee. Detailed descriptions of the many Committee initiatives undertaken previously and currently in progress are set forth in the Committee section of this website.