Archive for October, 2010

Oct 28 2010

Negative Campaign Ads Harm Public Perception of the Courts

Published by under Judges,Opinion

Richard L. Hasen and Dahlia  Lithwick at Slate have compiled a collection of frightening ads in what they refer to as their “judicial election campaign ad spooktacular.” Despite that tone, the article draws attention to the serious problem of increasingly expensive and negative judicial campaigns. Hasen and Lithwick describe parts of the underlying problem – […]

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Oct 28 2010

Expensive Judicial Elections Create the Perception of “Tainted Justice”

Over at Gavel Grab, Peter Hardin draws attention to the costly judicial elections underway in Alabama. Noting that Alabama has the most expensive Supreme Court elections in the country, Hardin examines an editorial that appeared in the Press-Register criticizing judicial elections. The editorial opens with a strong critique of judicial elections in Alabama: “As long […]

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Oct 27 2010

“Electing Judges Has to Go”

An editorial in the Chicago Tribune calls for Illinois to get rid of judicial elections and move to a merit selection system. In making its point, the editorial looks at the great expense and negative tone of the campaigns for and against current Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride. The Tribune announces that the core […]

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Oct 25 2010

North Carolina Paper Looks for “A Better Way to Choose Judges”

An editorial in the News Herald calls for North Carolina to do away with its nonpartisan judicial elections and move to merit-based selection of judges. The editorial calls for impartial and qualified judges: “By its very name, ‘popular election’ is wrong. Do we really want the most-popular glad-hander on the bench, or do we want […]

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Oct 22 2010

“The Farcical Exercise” – Judicial Elections Around the Country

Over at Gavel Grab, Peter Hardin takes a look at various judicial elections and ballot initiatives happening around the country. In doing so, Hardin provides examples of the weaknesses inherent in judicial elections. In Georgia, the Secretary of State is looking at the possibility that a candidate for the state supreme court may have violated […]

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Oct 19 2010

Special Interests “Chip Away” at Impartial Courts

An editorial in USA Today focuses on the threat special interest groups pose to judicial independence and asserts that these groups have “chipped away at impartial justice.” It looks at the increase in campaign expenditures during the past decade in comparison with expenditures in the 1990s and sees special interest groups: “ensuring they’ll win in […]

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Oct 18 2010

Money Threatens Judicial Independence

Roderick M. Hills at the Huffington Post believes that there is a threat to the independence of state judiciaries and that merit selection offers the best solution. His post discusses some of the dangers created by the increasing amounts of money involved in judicial elections, noting that judicial independence is threatened when judges become fundraisers. […]

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Oct 15 2010

Keep Money Out of the Courtroom

Retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor recently appeared on PBS’ News Hour to talk about civics education, judicial elections and having three women on the Supreme Court.  The whole interview is worth watching, but pay close attention to what Justice O’Connor has to say about judicial elections.  She explains her growing concern […]

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Oct 13 2010

Electing judges is “crazy”

A sharp commentary on judicial elections appeared in a British publication this week. An Economist blog post entitled “Lunacy on the march” harshly criticizes the practice of electing judges. The post opens by declaring: “America’s system of choosing judges is crazy.” It goes on to deplore the excessive amount of money poured into elections and […]

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Oct 13 2010

A New Look at Merit Selection

According to a profile in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly (subscription required), the Pennsylvania Association for Justice (formerly the Pa. Association of Trial Lawyers) is taking a new look at Merit Selection.  New President Tim Conboy explained that he is appointing  a commission to study the issue in response to requests of the membership. “There’s no […]

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