Russell R. Wheeler is president of the Governance Institute, a small non-profit think-tank created in 1986 to study problems of American government stemming from the separation of powers. He is also a Visiting Fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program. Wheeler served from 1991 to 2005 as Deputy Director of the Federal Judicial Center, the federal courts’ research and education agency. Prior to joining the Center in 1977, he was with the National Center for State Courts, and prior to that worked three years at the U.S. Supreme Court in the office of the chief justice’s administrative assistant.
He has authored numerous articles on U.S. judicial systems and various aspects of the judicial role. He is a member of the editorial board of the Justice System Journal and previously chaired the editorial committee for Judicature. He has lectured on judicial education and the administration of justice in numerous countries, especially in Latin America.
While at the Federal Judicial Center, he also was a reporter for the Federal Courts Study Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, a consultant for the Long Range Planning Committee of the Judicial Conference, and provided major research support to the statutorily created Commission on Structural Alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals, and to the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act Study Committee, appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist in 2004 and chaired by Justice Breyer. From 2006-2012, he was the U.S. representative to the Board of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, created by the Organization of American States primarily to help countries of the region adapt to new forms of criminal procedure. He served by appointment of Chief Justice Roberts on the Supreme Court Fellows Commission from 2006 to 2012. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, at the University of Denver, and a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States
He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1970.