Archive for November, 2008

Nov 26 2008

Looking for a Better Way in Wisconsin

An editorial in the Badger Herald expresses concern about the upcoming judicial elections in Wisconsin and argues for a better way to pick judges: [O]ur next state Supreme Court election will indeed follow directly in the footsteps of the previous two, which gained national attention for their corrosive effect on the stature of our judicial […]

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Nov 25 2008

2008 Election Wrap Up — The Television Story

Published by under Judges,News

The Brennan Center for Justice has released its analysis of television advertising expenditures for the 2008 judicial election cycle, and the numbers are staggering: Candidates, interest groups, and political parties combined to spend $19,861,269 on television advertisements in state Supreme Court elections nationwide this year. . . . That figure is up 24 percent from […]

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Nov 24 2008

What Do Campaign Contributors Think Their Money Buys?

Published by under Judges

American Courthouse has tipped us off to a story on Texas Watchdog about a big donor to democratic judicial candidates in Texas — attorney Mikal Watts — who has an interesting view about the effect of his campaign contributions.  A letter Watts drafted to opposing counsel in a pending case argues that the parties should […]

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Nov 21 2008

Praise for Greene County, Missouri

As we reported last week, voters in Greene County, Missouri voted this year to switch from electing their local judges to a Merit Selection system.  Thomas M. Burke, President of the Missouri Bar, analyzes the decision in an editorial in the News-Leader: Why switch now? While a number of reasons were presented to voters, the […]

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Nov 19 2008

What They’re Saying in West Virginia

Published by under Judges,News,Opinion

The fact that the United States Supreme Court has decided to hear Caperton v. Massey — the West Virginia case involving campaign contributors and recusal of judges — is of course big news to lawyers and judges.  But it’s also important to members of the public who come to the courts to settle disputes.  Here’s […]

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Nov 18 2008

Finding a Place for the Parties in “Non-Partisan” Elections

Published by under Judges,News

Wisconsin uses nonpartisan elections to select its judges. That means candidates cannot seek the backing of a political party or identify themselves as a member of a political party.  Unlike Pennsylvania, the ballots do not reflect a candidate’s political party.  According to the Wisconsin State Journal, however, “partisans seeking to elect their chosen candidates to […]

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Nov 16 2008

Supreme Court Will Hear Caperton v. Massey

Published by under Judges,News

During its Friday conference, the United States Supreme Court voted to grant certiorari in Caperton v. Massey, the case from West Virginia that asks whether judges should be required to recuse in cases involving significant contributors to their election campaigns.  This case will be watched closely by judges in election states and by all those […]

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Nov 14 2008

Asking Important Questions in Minnesota

A column in the Minnesota Daily offers an assessment of the recent elections and challenges readers to think about whether changing from electing judges to a Merit Selection system makes sense. The author notes that despite the large number of ballots cast in Minnesota, many people did not vote in the judicial elections: “Essentially, more […]

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Nov 13 2008

A Call for Supreme Court to Weigh in On Campaign Contributions and Recusal

Published by under Judges,News,Opinion

An editorial in today’s New York Times argues that the United States Supreme Court should take the case of Caperton v. Massey — the West Virginia case that asks whether judges should be required to recuse in cases involving significant campaign contributors. We’ve written about the case here and here. The Times argues that this […]

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Nov 12 2008

More Talk about Reform in Texas

The Star-Telegram offers an interesting editorial arguing that last week’s judicial elections demonstrate again why judicial selection reform is needed:  “after the latest round of high-dollar, highly polarized judicial elections, it could be time to be seriously talking again about alternatives to the expensive partisan contests that have been our norm for far too long.” […]

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