Archive for the 'Judicial Elections' Category

Mar 26 2015

In Response to Growing Influence of Money in Judicial Elections, Former Alabama Chief Justice Supports Merit Selection

This year, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to decide whether state ethics rules can prohibit judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions. The case, Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, could have major implications in some of the 33 states, like Pennsylvania, which have this prohibition in place. A ruling against the Florida Bar would effectively […]

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Mar 23 2015

Elect Judges Based On Merit, Not Chance

An editorial in today’s Philadelphia Daily News highlights the judicial elections “crapshoot” in Pennsylvania, where judges are often elected based on nothing other than their luck in a lottery for ballot position. The importance of ballot position on winning elections is well documented, especially in judicial races, where voters don’t have a lot of information about the candidates.  The University of Virginia’s Center […]

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Mar 12 2015

Former Montana Supreme Court Justice Joins Growing Calls for Merit Selection

Retired Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson has joined the growing call for an end to judicial elections. In the February edition of Montana Lawyer, retired Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson cites Citizen’s United and its related injection of outside funding into state judicial elections as having,“…poisoned campaigns and elections across the […]

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Feb 25 2015

Cast your Vote in Favor of Merit Selection on the PoliticsPA.com Poll

The website PoliticsPA.com is hosting a poll allowing readers to choose whether they think Pennsylvania judges should be elected or appointed. The poll comes in the wake of several controversies involving elected judges in Pennsylvania, including those on the Supreme Court. This week, comedian John Oliver gave his hilarious take on the issue on his TV show, Last […]

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Feb 24 2015

John Oliver Explains Why Judicial Elections are Harmful for American Democracy

On this week’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on the topic of judicial elections, referring to them as a “horrible spectacle.” John Oliver began his segment with a discussion of Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has ordered state judges to ignore a federal ruling that would allow same-sex couples to marry. Justice Moore […]

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Feb 18 2015

Retired Pennsylvania Judges Call for Merit Selection

A recent article published in the Allentown Morning Call and authored by former Lehigh County Judge Maxwell E. Davison is calling for merit selection of appellate judges. Judge Davison is joined in his opinion by six other former Pennsylvania judges. Citing numerous reasons for the change, including the recent pornographic email scandal involving former PA Supreme Court […]

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Feb 18 2015

Low voter information undermines judicial elections 

Judicial elections are traditionally “low-information” ballot races, but a recent University of Akron poll shows that there are consequences to this state of affairs. Half of all Ohioans polled said they vote less frequently for judges when compared with other offices on the ballot.  Of those, 63 percent said the reason they don’t always vote for judges […]

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Jan 21 2015

Judicial Elections in a Post-Citizens United Era

Recent studies have shown that Citizens United likely has had a tremendous impact on judicial elections. Since the US Supreme Court’s decision in 2010, judicial campaign spending has increased at an alarming rate. In the 2011-2012 election cycle, $24.1 million was spent on state court races, which was an increase in more than $11 million […]

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Dec 02 2014

2014 Judicial Election Recap

On Tuesday, November 4th, Supreme Court justices in 22 states were on the ballot, with retention elections in 14 states.  In many states, the judicial elections were expensive, negative, and bitterly partisan. Perhaps the clearest trend to emerge from the 2014 elections is the increasing role of money in judicial elections.  For television ads alone, $13.8 […]

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Sep 10 2014

Names Should Not Be the Name of the Game

An editorial by Brent Larkin at the Northeast Ohio Media Group laments the state of the judicial election process in Ohio.  He writes about the bottom-of-the-ballot matchup between two Cuyahoga County Common Pleas candidates with near-“royal” names. McMonagle vs. Gallagher.  In the red corner, the son of the incumbent, the beneficiary of a 15-1 McMonagle family record in Ohio judicial elections […]

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