Archive for July, 2008

Jul 31 2008

Horror Stories from the Campaign Trail: North Carolina and Kansas

Sometimes real stories are stranger than fiction and illustrate the problems with electing judges better than any scenario we could imagine. Here are some true horror stories drawn from current judicial elections in other states. We wish we could say this is a one-time feature, but we’re pretty sure we’ll have more horror stories to […]

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Jul 30 2008

Donation Dilemma Dogs Judicial Candidates

An article about campaign financing in a state legislative race raises ethical issues that echo concerns about judicial campaigns. Candidate Todd Stephens is a Montgomery County assistant district attorney. His opponent’s campaign charges that Stephens is accepting campaign donations from defense attorneys and law firms whose clients he’s scheduled to prosecute. Shira Goodman, associate director […]

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Jul 29 2008

Chicago Tribune On Judicial Campaign Finance

Published by under Judges,News

In a feature on campaign financing, Chicago Tribune correspondent Tim Jones notes that special interest groups are spending millions of dollars on state Supreme Court races, “with the intent of electing justices who will advance or protect their financial interests.” Jones summarizes the fallout from increasingly expensive, partisan contests in Wisconsin, West Virginia and Illinois, […]

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Jul 28 2008

A Question Of Priority in Alabama

Published by under News

Gavel Grab notes that, in Alabama, every dollar raised for judicial election campaigns comes from private contributions. Every dollar spent on civil representation for poor citizens also comes from private donations. Sadly, donations to judicial campaigns are more than double the amount spent to fund civil justice for the poor. We can’t say, of course, […]

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Jul 25 2008

Reform On Hold In Washington State

Published by under Merit Selection News

After a year and a half of debate and revision, a bill to start the process of bringing Merit Selection to the appellate courts of Washington has stalled in a committee of the Washington House of Representatives. Seattle attorney and blogger Rand Koler, who writes extensively about the Washington judiciary, has been following with interest […]

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Jul 24 2008

Record $6 Million Spent on Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

Published by under News,Our Perspective

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has looked into the campaign finance reports that candidates for the 2008 Wisconsin supreme court race have filed. A staggering $5.96 million was spent in the race — a record for Wisconsin. The lion’s share of that money was spent by special-interest groups: $4.8 million. And what the special-interest groups did […]

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Jul 24 2008

Partisan Judicial Elections Risk Loss of Public Trust in the Courts

Published by under Merit Selection,Opinion

An editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal expresses a fear that is increasingly heard in states where judges are elected: “Highly politicized elections and costly campaigns for Supreme Court seats have raised doubt about the justices’ ability to remain independent from partisan influence.” This editorial comes on the heels of a controversial high court ruling […]

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Jul 23 2008

Not All Polls are Created Equal

Published by under Merit Selection News,Opinion

Not every poll really means what it claims to mean. For example, a new poll released by the American Justice Partnership (AJP) claims that voters “overwhelmingly support the direct election of state Supreme Court justices over a nominating commission/appointment process.” However, looking at the portions of the poll that AJP has chosen to release, it […]

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Jul 22 2008

Opinion Shifts in Wisconsin to Support Merit Selection

Published by under Judges,Merit Selection,Opinion

Are Wisconsin voters ready to choose Merit Selection over partisan elections of their judges? Deke Rivers, a blogger who writes about politics and life in Wisconsin, says that he used to think that electing judges was the way to go, but now he’s changed his mind: While I have long felt that public election to […]

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Jul 21 2008

Pointing Out the Problems with Electing Judges

Walter Olson of Point of Law and Overlawyered offers a thoughtful analysis of the problems with judicial elections and the reasons why he is ” not at all convinced that electioneering and noisy public campaigns make a good way of selecting judges.” Olson expounds that: how to pick up women Judges seeking election or re-election […]

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