Michael L. Buenger is the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). He assumed his position on October 5, 2018. Prior to joining NCSC in 2018, Mr. Buenger held several executive leadership positions in state courts and internationally over a 30-year career.
He served as the Administrative Director of the Supreme Court of Ohio from 2015-2018. He has also served as a state court administrator for the states of South Dakota (1995-2000) and Missouri (2000-2007). From 2007 to 2010, he worked for the NCSC as a senior rule of law adviser in Kosovo, assisting the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Kosovo government on a variety of judicial, legislative, and prosecutorial reform projects. While in Kosovo, Mr. Buenger worked with an international advisory team to redesign and reform the Kosovo courts. He served as the principal drafter of several key justice sector reform laws that were adopted by the Kosovo Parliament. He has consulted on rule of law projects in Macedonia, Egypt and Turkey. Recently, he assisted the United Nations Development Program on drafting the implementation measures for the Istanbul Declaration on Judicial Transparency.
Mr. Buenger holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from the University of Dayton (1983), a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the St. Louis University School of Law (1989), and an LLM in Public International Law, with distinction, from the Brussels School of International Studies (2011), where he received the Ambassador John Macgregor Prize for academic excellence. He is a co-author and contributor to books on the American court system, American federalism, the law of interstate agreements, and the politics of international law. He has published articles examining state constitutional law, state courts, judicial-legislative relations, human rights, and public international law.
His interests include state courts, state constitutions, and the use of domestic legal systems to set international norms of conduct. Mr. Buenger was involved in the writing of four interstate compacts governing interstate criminal, juvenile justice, child welfare, and education matters. He has consulted with the Council of State Governments, the Interstate Commission on Adult Offender Supervision, the Interstate Commission on Juveniles, the American Public Human Services Association and several other federal and state agencies on interstate regulatory matters. In 2005, Mr. Buenger was inducted into the Warren E. Burger Society of the NCSC in recognition of his contributions to the state courts.