Archive for October, 2008

Oct 31 2008

Wall Street Journal Offers Another Misguided Attack

An editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal launches another misguided attack at Merit Selection.  Recycling tired arguments about the influence of plaintiffs’ trial lawyers on nominating commissions, the editorial asserts: “What began as an effort to keep politics out of judicial selection has become a wholesale transfer of power from voters to the legal guild.  […]

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Oct 30 2008

Campaign Money Raises Questions in Alabama

Published by under Judges,News

In a report about the current judicial elections in Alabama, The Press-Register notes: With millions of dollars coursing into the campaign coffers of candidates for Alabama’s appellate courts, an age-old question has resurfaced: What should judges do to remove doubt about their impartiality? It’s not just reform groups and the public who are concerned about […]

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Oct 29 2008

Big Spending in Michigan

Published by under Judges,News,Opinion

The race for the Michigan Supreme Court is heating up with the candidates having raised more than two million dollars already.  But, as a new report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network explains, the election is costing much more than that: third party spending on television ads for the candidates is nearly two million dollars […]

3 responses so far

Oct 28 2008

Philadelphia Magazine Examines the Crazy System of Electing Judges

Published by under Judges,Opinion

The November issue of Philadelphia Magazine includes a lengthy feature analyzing how judges get elected in Philadelphia.  Although the story focuses only on the process for electing local judges, it puts in sharp relief some of the major problems with using elections to pick judges: the randomness of the process and the money. The article […]

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Oct 27 2008

Outside Money Comes into Alabama Election

Published by under Judges,News

Adding to Alabama’s already expensive and nasty Supreme Court election, a Virginia-based organization has begun a series of television advertisements promoting its preferred judicial candidate, spending over $1 million to broadcast ads praising candidate Greg Shaw.  The Press-Register reports that, in response to the organization’s ads, candidate Deborah Bell Paseur’s campaign wants Shaw to demand […]

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Oct 24 2008

Texas Needs a Better Way to Select Judges

An opinon piece in the San Antonio Express-News argues that electing judges just doesn’t make sense.  Bruce Davidson writes: Good judges hate to raise money and act like politicians. But the Texas judicial selection system forces them to be politicians, and that creates a major perception problem about Texas justice. Texas, like Pennsylvania, elects all […]

One response so far

Oct 22 2008

Tracking the Money in Alabama

Published by under Judges,News

The Birmingham News reported recently on the role of political action committees (PACs) in channeling contributions from various sources into the Alabama Supreme Court race.  PACs are set up to let various parties and interest groups pool their money.  The PAC appears as a campaign contributor, but the actual contributors’ names do not. The system […]

2 responses so far

Oct 21 2008

What’s Going on in Nevada?

Published by under Judges,News

The Las Vegas Sun’s report on the Nevada Supreme Court elections discloses disturbing allegations about whether campaign contributions might have been offered in exchange for a promise to recuse from the donor’s cases.  The candidate has alleged that a political consultant close to another lawyer — and long-time “enemy” of the candidate — approached the […]

2 responses so far

Oct 20 2008

Tales from the Minnesota Campaign Trail

Published by under Judges,News

It’s not a judicial election year in Pennsylvania, but many other states are electing judges this fall.  Two stories from Minnesota illustrate some of the problems inherent in electing judges. We’ve long pointed out that judicial elections often turn on random factors like ballot position, name recognition and fundraising ability rather than demonstrated skill, qualifications […]

One response so far

Oct 17 2008

Standing Up for Merit Selection in Wisconsin

Tim Kiefer, an unsuccessful candidate for the Wisconsin General Assembly, has published an op-ed in the Capital Times explaining why he supports reforming Wisconsin’s judicial selection process and implementing a Merit Selection system for the state Supreme Court.  Kiefer sums up his understanding of Merit Selection: “The basic philosophy is this: Select justices based on […]

One response so far

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