Archive for May, 2010

May 28 2010

Alabama judge criticizes opponent for campaign spending

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin is accusing his opponent, lawyer Tracy Cary, of hypocrisy after he openly criticized the high cost of judicial elections and later inserted massive funds into his campaign, Gavel Grab reported. A statement on Cary’s website reads: I will not participate in the outlandish fund-raising of past judicial campaigns. This […]

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May 26 2010

Dialing For Dollars?

Published by under Judges,Merit Selection,News

Gavel Grab reported yesterday that Ohio’s newly elected Chief Justice Eric Brown made personal telephone calls requesting attendance at campaign fundraising event. The state’s code of judicial conduct prohibits “direct solicitation and receipt of campaign contributions.” An advisor to the campaign asserts that the Chief Justice did not violate the rules because he only urged […]

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May 24 2010

The Best of Both Worlds

Last Friday the New York Times ran an editorial written by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, extolling the advantages of merit selection over judicial elections for state judges.  O’Connor writes that while the lifetime appointment feature of the federal system leaves citizens with little redress against an errant judge, and judicial elections […]

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May 21 2010

“You Like That?”

what is passionate love On Wednesday retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor visited the Chicago Bar Association to urge Illinois to change the way it selects judges from judicial elections to merit selection. As evidence that the state’s current method of selection is fraught with both real and potential conflict, Justice O’Connor cited the […]

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May 20 2010

Study Shows Merit Selection the Best Bet for Diverse Courts

Earlier this week Gavel Grab reported on the findings of a study showing that judicial diversity in the state courts is better achieved through merit selection than through judicial elections. The report, entitled “Examining Diversity on State Courts: How Does the Judicial Selection Environment Advance—and Inhibit—Judicial Diversity?,” was conducted by the nonprofit, non partisan research […]

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May 14 2010

CA Bill Grapples With Judicial Campaign Contributions

Published by under Judges

Gavel Grab alerted us to a new bill in California that seeks to ensure judicial impartiality by requiring judges to recuse themselves in cases involving a party that had contributed significantly to their campaign. Under the new law, a judge would be prohibited from hearing a case if he or she had received over $1,500 […]

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May 13 2010

The High Court’s Revolving Door of Campaign Funds

Published by under Judges,News

On Tuesday PA Law Weekly (subscription required) reported that three of the sitting justices on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made political contributions with unused funds raised for their own campaigns. After being elected to the high court last year, Justice Joan Orie Melvin transferred the remaining $30,093.96 in her account to the campaign of her […]

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May 11 2010

"Buying Justice"

Published by under Judges,Merit Selection,News

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law has published a new article analyzing the negative impact the recent Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC will likely have on state judicial races.  In that case, the Court overturned a long-standing ban prohibiting corporate expenditures in elections.  As a result of the ruling, […]

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May 07 2010

Merit Lives, Part II

An editorial in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette proclaims that merit selection must not be buried with the bones of past reform initiatives in the Commonwealth’s “elephant’s graveyard of good ideas.” Says the Post-Gazette, Gov. Ed Rendell has long backed the idea and in his last year in office is supporting bills in the Legislature to reform […]

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May 07 2010

Merit Lives!

Merit selection for Pennsylvania’s appellate judges has been a much debated reform issue for over years. In a recent new conference on the subject, longtime proponent Governor Rendell proclaimed that the switch from electing judges to selecting them via merit selection was long overdue. Legal Intelligencer reporter Leo Strupczewski writes this week that the proposal […]

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