Archive for February, 2009

Feb 26 2009

Perception and Reality — Linked Together When it Comes to the Courts

Published by under Judges,Opinion

A column by Detroit Free Press assoicate editor Ron Dzwonkowski offers a straightforward, no nonsense approach to the upcoming United States Supreme Court case of Caperton v. Massey.  As we’ve reported, this is the case from West Virginia that presents the question of whether judges have to recuse (step aside) in cases involving campaign contributors.  […]

One response so far

Feb 24 2009

Survey Says: “Campaign Cash Has No Place in the Courtroom”

Our partners at Justice At Stake commissioned a survey about the public’s attitudes towards the influence of campaign contributions on judicial decision-making , and guess what they found:  “An overwhelming percentage of U.S. adults believes that judges cannot be completely impartial and should not participate in cases that involve large campaign contributors.” As reported on Gavel Grab […]

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Feb 23 2009

Is There A Link Between Campaign Contributions and Courtroom Decisions

Published by under Judges,News

We know that many, many people are concerned about the influence of campaign contributions on judicial decision-making.  But is there really a link or is it all just a question of perception?  The National Law Journal is reporting on a new study about the link between campaign contributions and decisions in the courtroom: “Is justice […]

2 responses so far

Feb 20 2009

Changing the Rules in Wisconsin

Published by under Judges,News

Our friends at Gavel Grab have a very interesting post about the recent decision of a federal court judge striking down various restrictions on the conduct of judicial candidates in Wisconsin.  In short, “State judges can now join political parties, endorse political candidates, and seek  campaign contributions. . . .”  The decision of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb […]

One response so far

Feb 19 2009

Merit Selection is the Way

Over at CoffeeSpoons, blogger Matthew Jones in Indiana makes a good case for why electing judges is a bad idea.  Arguing in favor of maintaining Merit Selection for the Indiana Supreme Court, he observes: My primary reason for opposing [judicial elections] is that it would require potential justices to wade into the muck and mire […]

One response so far

Feb 18 2009

USA Today Poll Shows Big Concerns About Effect of Campaign Contributions

In a front-page article about the Supreme Court case of Caperton v. Massey, USA Today presents sobering statistics about the public’s perception of the effect of campaign contributions in judicial elections: A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll this month found 89% of those surveyed believe the influence of campaign contributions on judges’ rulings is a problem, and […]

One response so far

Feb 17 2009

Merit Selection Can Help Increase Confidence in Our Courts

The Times Leader, serving Northeastern Pennsylvania, published a commentary piece by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts this weekend addressing how to increase public confidence in our courts.  There has been a string of cases involving judges getting into criminal and/or ethical trouble, most recently a scandal involving two judges in Luzerne County.  PMC offered three suggestions […]

2 responses so far

Feb 13 2009

Raising Questions about Recusal in Pennsylvania

The Allentown Morning Call reports that a judge in Northampton County is being criticized for failing to reveal that he received campaign contributions from a party involved in a case. The case initially had been assigned to another judge, who recused herself because she had received campaign contributions from one of the parties.  Although the […]

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Feb 12 2009

Texas Chief Justice Calls for Merit Selection

The Austin-American Statesman reports that Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson called for Merit Selection during his biennial State of the Judiciary address to the legislature: Jefferson reserved the bulk of his speech for what he called “the corrosive influence of money” in judicial elections. Polls show that more than 80 percent of Texans believe campaign […]

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Feb 10 2009

Observer-Reporter Calls for Merit Selection

An editorial in the Observer-Reporter, serving Washington and Greene Counties, criticizes the judicial election process and editorializes in favor of a Merit Selection system for the statewide appellate courts.  The editorial lists the candidates endorsed by the state Republican Democratic parties and asks: [I]s there anyone reading this (lawyers excepted) who ever heard of any […]

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