Tag Archives: judicial elections

Florida Supreme Court merit retention election: Push to change Florida’s future is flying under the radar

Tampa, Florida — There’s a push going on to change Florida’s future, and it’s in a way that some say is sneaky, dishonest, and just plain wrong. This impacts a whole range of what you care about: education, transportation, your freedoms, and your privacy. Read more here: http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/280556/8/Push-to-change-Floridas-future-flies-under-the-radar.

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Charlie Crist: Vote ‘Yes’ for merit retention

I voted early and chose, “Yes” to retain the three Florida Supreme Court Justices up for merit retention. Here is why. “Merit retention,” was wisely put into place so that voters could get rid of justices who dishonor their office, not to mock our system of checks and balances. Read more here: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20121029/OPINION/121029549/1109/sports?Title=Charlie-Crist-Vote-Yes-for-merit-retention&tc=ar.

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Guest commentary: Basil L. Bain, Esq. … Please be informed

In an election year with a momentous presidential race, it may surprise voters to learn that one of the most important and historic decisions for Floridians is actually toward the very end of their ballot. Three of Florida’s Supreme Court Justices and a number of appellate judges are on the ballot for a regularly slated merit retention vote. Read more here: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/oct/28/guest-commentary/.

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A threat to our courts

Amendment 5 is one of the 11 legislatively proposed amendments to Florida’s constitution on the November ballot. It presents three different and distinct proposed changes to how Florida’s court system is constitutionally structured. Read more here: http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/oct/28/vwviewo1-a-threat-to-our-courts-ar-545818/.

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Conservatives taking aim at three Supreme Court justices

As the election nears, voters are taking a look at this year’s lengthy ballot. Amid the clutter is a terribly troubling power play by elements of the Florida Republican Party. Some conservatives are urging voters to vote against the retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices. Read more here: http://www2.hernandotoday.com/news/hernando-news/2012/oct/28/conservatives-taking-aim-at-three-supreme-court-ju-ar-546995/.

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Fight effort to destroy independent judiciary

We Floridians are in danger of losing the last and most important safeguard the individual citizen has against the overwhelming power of government, special interest money and political machinery: our independent and nonpartisan state Supreme Court. Read more here: http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/oct/27/naopino1-fight-effort-to-destroy-independent-judic-ar-545755/.

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Former prosecutor ‘resents’ GOP tactics used against Supreme Court justices

The appellate prosecutor in the murder case cited by the Republican Party of Florida to depict three state Supreme Court justices as “judicial activists” said Friday all three are “outstanding justices who are being unfairly attacked for overtly political reasons.” Tallahassee lawyer Curtis M. French said he resents his successful appeal to Washington being used as “Exhibit A” in the political case against Florida Justices Peggy Quince, Barbara Pariente and R. Fred Lewis. He said they will have his vote Nov. 6. Read more here: http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=29975579.

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Keep justices on the job

Should they stay or should they go? Since Florida began holding merit retention elections for its Supreme Court justices and appeals judges in 1978, state voters have always voted to keep them on the bench. Read more here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-endorsement-supreme-court-102612-20121025,0,3177685.story.

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Change the rules and change the refs

We’ve often said about the Republican Party that “99 and a half won’t do” for them. They’ve got to have it all. The latest example? The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) wants to take over the top level of Florida’s judicial branch: the Florida Supreme Court. Read more here: http://flcourier.com/2012/10/25/change-the-rules-and-change-the-refs/.

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VIDEO: Amendment 5 seeks to remove 3 Fla. supreme court justices

WINTER PARK, Fla. — A measure is on the ballot and an effort is underway to remove and replace three Florida Supreme Court justices. The justices, Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and R. Fred Lewis, are on the ballot for merit retention. Read more here: http://www.wesh.com/news/politics/Amendment-5-seeks-to-remove-3-Fla-supreme-court-justices/-/11788048/17146008/-/siygbh/-/index.html#ixzz2ARTtANDI.

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Florida ballot questions on courts, student representation

A proposed constitutional amendment that would change the way Florida Supreme Court justices are appointed and give the legislature more control over court rules isn’t a power grab, said a House Speaker who pushed the proposal. Read more here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/election-2012-state-ballot-questions-on-courts-stu/nSjt4/.

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In background of justices’ fight, another court battle

Even as three Florida Supreme Court justices fight to hold onto their seats in merit elections scheduled for November, a ballot proposal that would change how future appointees are named to the court is also headed to voters. Read more here: http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=537625.

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Amendment 5 gives state Senate more control over Court

Title on ballot: State Courts What it would do: This measure would provide for Senate confirmation of Supreme Court justices; give lawmakers control over changes to the rules governing the court system; and direct the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates judicial misconduct complaints, to make its files available to the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Read more here: http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2012-09-23-0#.UImMiG_A-aV.

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Florida Among Three States Weighing Ballot Measures That Would Politicize High Courts

Florida is one of three states this year that will vote on a ballot measure in November that, if passed, will politicize state courts. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, from 2011 to 2012, legislators in 24 states introduced laws or resolutions that would “enable governors to replace competent state judges, a power that would, in practice, result in more conservative replacements in states across the country.” Of those 24 states where such … Continue reading

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Here’s why we say ‘NO’ to all amendments

The amendments that you will see on this year’s ballot are proposed changes to the Florida Constitution. Our state constitution – similar to the U.S Constitution – establishes rules and basic rights. It covers freedoms such as religion, speech, press, assemblage, work and bearing of arms. Read more here: http://flcourier.com/2012/10/25/another-gop-power-grab/.

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Editorial: Judicial elections threaten justice

Judicial elections used to be so quaint. Candidates didn’t campaign, lest politics taint their independence. They just ran on their résumés. Not so any more. In today’s hyperpoliticized environment, judicial candidates routinely drum up money from campaign contributors who want to buy influence. Read more here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2012/10/23/judicial-elections-judges-campaign/1653345/.

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Letter: Historical Fight for Fair and Impartial Courts Rages On

The issue concerning fair and impartial judges is not a new issue for this state or the United States as a whole. This issue was fought over during the formation of this great nation and the U.S. Constitution. In 1788, Alexander Hamilton wrote The Federalist #78, which eloquently details the need for our judges, especially our appeals court and Supreme Court judges, to be free to make decisions based on their impartial interpretations of the … Continue reading

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GOP should butt out of high-court decision

Florida’s highest court is under political attack. The state Republican Party launched the unprecedented assault last week when its leaders went on the record in favor of ousting the Supreme Court justices who face judgment from voters on the November ballot: Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. Read more here: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-09-26/opinion/os-ed-gop-judicial-retention-092612-20120925_1_justices-and-judges-supreme-court-justices-barbara-pariente.

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Endorsement editorial: Supreme Court justices, Appeal Court judges

Merit retention has been part of the Florida judicial system since 1976. It calls for voters to render simple “yes” or “no” decisions on whether judges at the appellate level. including the Florida Supreme Court, should be retained for further service. Read more here: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/sep/26/endorsement-editorial-supreme-court-justices/.

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Independent high court protects people’s rights

The saying “you can’t fight city hall” was borne out of a common frustration with government being viewed as too powerful to beat. It’s a cynical view of Big Government, to be sure, and it would be a lot closer to the truth if we didn’t have an equally powerful force to turn to when our “inalienable rights” are under siege, as they have been since Rick Scott becameFlorida’s governor. Read more here: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-09-19/opinion/os-ed-front-burner-judicial-retention-pro-091912-20120918_1_justices-judges-rick-scott.

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Targeted by activist groups, justices must campaign

State Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince isn’t used to asking people for their votes. When she spoke Wednesday to the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, Quince talked about the history of the state’s merit retention system for appellate judges, the importance of an impartial judiciary and the need for people to vote in every election on the ballot, including questions — such as her own — at the bottom. Read more here: http://www2.tbo.com/news/news/2012/sep/13/namaino1-targeted-by-activist-groups-justices-must-ar-497503/.

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Group defending Florida Supreme Court justices fights back

Three Florida Supreme Court justices and 15 appellate judges are up for merit retention in the Nov. 6 general election. But as CL’s Scott Farrell reported earlier this summer, conservative forces hope to remove the three high court state justices, two of them — Barbara Pariente and Fred Lewis — nominated to the bench by Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, and the other — Peggy Quince — a joint nomination between Chiles and Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. Read … Continue reading

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Supporters of embattled justices offer civics lesson in their defense

Supporters of three Florida Supreme Court justices under fire from conservative activists offered a civics lesson Tuesday in urging voters to reject the drive. Read more here: http://www.postonpolitics.com/2012/09/supporters-of-embattled-justices-offer-civics-lesson-in-their-defense/.

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Former justice joins pushback in merit retention debate over FSC justices

Former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero joined in the defense ofFlorida’s three justices up for merit retention in the face of a recent “report card” by a conservative group aimed at ousting the judges. Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/09/three-justices-raised-more-than-1-m-and-restore-justice-has-raised-41000-villalobos-most-of-the-money-comes-from-the-s.html.

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Florida Bar Poll: Strong Support For Supreme Court Justices, Appellate Judges

A poll of Florida Bar members regarding the retention of three justices and 15 appellate court judges indicates very strong support for all to be retained. The poll seeks to find whether attorneys who know the most about these jurists believe they should continue in their jobs. The retention election is Nov. 6. Read more here: http://government.brevardtimes.com/2012/09/florida-bar-poll-strong-support-for.html.

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Ernest Hooper: It’s downright un-American not to vote

RIVERVIEW — State Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince came before the Riverview Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday with a fundamental request of the audience. Vote. Read more here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/ernest-hooper-its-downright-un-american-not-to-vote/1248596.

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Justice Pariente challenges lawyers to educate public

Three Florida Supreme Court justices and 15 appellate judges are up for merit retention in the Nov. 6 general election, but what the system is — and what it isn’t — has been the focus of an educational push by members of the legal community. Read more here: http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=537362.

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Jeff Lytle: It was an omen

It was an omen. Our Monday front page had stories about two issues sure to make your head hurt. One was about immigration and new rules affecting young people. Instead of helping, those rules make matters more tangled and confusing and only deepen the national divide. They are yet another sign we really aren’t serious about defining who is welcome and who is not. Read more here: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/aug/26/jeff-lytle-it-was-an-omen/.

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Editorial: Voters should study Florida Supreme Court justices’ records, make an educated decision on whether to retain them

It’s for a reason the judiciary is equal to and independent of the executive and legislative branches of government. It’s to minimize — and hopefully, eliminate — political pressure on how judges might rule on cases. We need our judges to make tough decisions that aren’t always popular in order to uphold the law and protect citizens’ rights. Read more here: http://www.news-press.com/article/20120826/OPINION/308260014/0/SPORTS04/Make-educated-vote-about-retaining-Florida-Supreme-Court-justices?odyssey=nav%7Chead.

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Florida justices hit the road to make case for retention on bench

With politics seeping into nonpartisan judge retention votes nationwide, three Florida Supreme Court justices are taking an unusual step this week — hitting the road to inform voters about how appellate judges are kept on the bench. Read more here: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/aug/21/fla-justices-hit-road-to-make-case-for-retention/.

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Judicial Elections and the Bottom Line

This year, 32 states will be holding contested elections or retention votes for judges on their highest courts. An ideological battle inFlorida, an expensive and partisan one in North Carolina and others are providing uncomfortable lessons about why judges on the highest courts should be appointed rather than elected. Elections turn judges into politicians, and the need to raise money to finance ever more expensive campaigns makes the judiciary more vulnerable to improper influence by donors. Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/opinion/judicial-elections-and-the-bottom-line.html?_r=1.

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Florida judge dismisses lawsuit aimed at candidates for justice

TALLAHASSEE— A trial judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit aimed at throwing three of his seven bosses — Florida Supreme Court justices — off the Nov. 6 ballot, where they are seeking retention in an up or down vote. Read more here: http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2012-08-09/story/florida-judge-dismisses-lawsuit-aimed-candidates-justice.

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Florida Supremes face political battle to keep jobs

TALLAHASSEE — A high-stakes battle in Florida is brewing over the retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices, pitting Gov. Rick Scott and tea party activists against a bipartisan coalition of lawyers. Read more here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/national-govt-politics/florida-supremes-face-political-battle-to-keep-job/nPsqM/.

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Scott voices displeasure after FDLE clears three justices

TALLAHASSEE — Florida investigators have cleared three state Supreme Court judges of violating any state law when they used court employees to help prepare election documents needed to qualify for their merit retention votes this fall. And that result apparently doesn’t sit well with Gov. Rick Scott, who sought the Florida Department of Law Enforcement inquiry, and on Thursday released a sardonic response to its findings. Read more here: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-07-06/news/os-scott-supreme-court-20120706_1_merit-retention-rick-scott-fdle.

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Prosecutor: No charges against 3 Fla. justices

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott may not get a chance to replace three Florida Supreme Court justices after a prosecutor said Thursday that no charges would be brought against them for having state-paid employees notarize their campaign forms. State Attorney Willie Meggs said that an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows the justices had campaign forms notarized by state employees during working hours to meet an April filing deadline. But the prosecutor said … Continue reading

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FDLE investigation into Florida Supreme Court justices over, fight not

An investigation into the filing of qualifying papers for three Supreme Court justices has been closed, but the controversy about the trio’s place on this fall’s ballot is likely to continue. A law firm issued a statement on behalf of the three Supreme Court justices, who all face retention elections this year, saying that prosecutors and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had ended their probe and found no wrongdoing on the part of Justices … Continue reading

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State investigators clear justices of wrongdoing, Scott not pleased

Three Florida Supreme Court justices did not break the law when they used court staff to notarize campaign documents, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement decided. But the matter is not settled. Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and Fred Lewis, up for merit retention, now have to fend off a lawsuit seeking to strip them off the November ballot. Read more here: http://www.postonpolitics.com/2012/07/state-investigators-clear-justices-of-wrongdoing-scott-not-pleased/.

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Conservative activists take aim at Florida justices

WASHINGTON – Robin Rorapaugh has managed two gubernatorial campaigns and two U.S. Senate races, and she was a senior adviser to Barack Obama in 2008. But she has never been in a campaign quite like the one she’s involved in now. Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/25/3674502/conservative-activists-take-aim.html.

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Editorial: Political witch hunt threatens Florida Supreme Court

The most important election in Florida may take place far down the ballot and involve people unfamiliar to most voters. But a vital principle will be at stake. Read more here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/editorial-political-witch-hunt-threatens-florida-s/nPXXX/.

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Analysis: the investigation into Florida’s Supreme Court justices

TAMPA (FOX 13) - Governor Rick Scott has directed state police to investigate the three justices appointed by Democrats. At issue is re-election paperwork the justices filed, and how they filed it. The fallout from the investigation could reshape the state Supreme Court, which has happened in other states. Read more here: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/18742452/analysis-the-investigation-into-floridas-supreme-court-justices

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Justice Barbara Pariente Says Rick Scott Will Make Court ‘Partisan’

Oy Vey! Five days after getting trounced in a GOP straw poll in Tampa, Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente went partisan at a synagogue in Delray Beach. Read more here: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/justice-barbara-pariente-says-rick-scott-will-make-court-partisan.

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Fla. Supreme Court: Protect Merit Retention

Politics in Florida are becoming ever more divided. Partisan Republicans and Democrats don’t have much to say to one another, unless it is in the form of an attack ad. The trend is national, with Republican conservatives moving steadfastly further to the right under tea party pressure, but it is more extreme in Florida. Read more here: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120527/EDIT01/205275013?tc=ar.

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Florida Supreme Court justice speaks at W. Delray temple

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente made a case to keep her job during a recent appearance at Temple Emeth in Delray Beach. Pariente is one of three justices facing merit retention in November, when the state’s voters decide on whether to let them keep their positions. Read more here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/delray-beach/fl-cn-justice-0527-20120525,0,4302155.story.

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Guide is part of judicial election education effort

With mailings, billboards, the Internet, and TV, voters will have plenty of information about candidates and issues on the 2012 election ballot. But when it comes to judicial races, it’s another matter. Read more here: http://www.floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnnews01.nsf/8c9f13012b96736985256aa900624829/dd1207a5956da82a85257a0500468f4b!OpenDocument.

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Cursory review of three justices’ acts will do

The dust-up over using state employees to finalize election ballot paperwork for the merit retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices is more political jockeying than a legitimate concern over lawbreaking. A conservative legislator upset with the court is exploiting the situation by calling for a criminal investigation. In fact, public employees commonly notarize election documents, and a cursory review should suffice. Gov. Rick Scott should not inappropriately politicize the merit retention election in November … Continue reading

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Editorial: On their merit

Thirty-six years ago, Florida voters wisely approved a “merit-retention” system for state Supreme Court justices and judges on district courts of appeal. Read more here: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20120508/OPINION01/120509664/-1/news?Title=Editorial-On-their-merit

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Editorial: Judging on merit

Thirty-six years ago, a majority of Florida voters judiciously approved a “merit-retention” system for state Supreme Court justices and judges on district courts of appeal. Read more here: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120507/OPINION/305079995.

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Two views: Don’t let political forces seize power over Florida’s courts

Imagine what would happen if a football coach handpicked referees for all of his games. Even the home crowd would be outraged. It violates the whole premise of fair play. Now imagine giving anyone similar influence over the rulings issued by a court of law. That is exactly what some of your elected leaders are seeking, and legislation moving toward approval in Tallahassee moves them closer to that goal. Some claim the changes in the … Continue reading

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Two views: Don’t let political forces seize power over Florida’s courts

Florida’s government, like the governments of other states and the federal government, is based upon three co-equal branches: legislative (the Florida House and Senate), executive (the governor), and the judiciary (trial and appellate courts). As an attorney who practices in our courts, I understand the importance of a selection process that assures judges are honest, fair and intelligent. As one of the senators who in 2011 stopped the controversial effort to split the Florida Supreme … Continue reading

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A better way to pick our judges

DURHAM — Informed North Carolina voters who consider the present realities do not want to continue to choose our judges by the democratic process that our state adopted in the 19th century. While we in North Carolina have experienced no disastrous judicial elections, voters in many other states have witnessed multi-million dollar defamatory campaigns for judicial offices. The chamber of commerce and other interest groups, or even parties in pending litigation, were winning contested judicial … Continue reading

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Findings are “disturbing”

A Washington Post editorial describes the findings of the New Politics of Judicial Elections: 2009-2010 as “disturbing.”  According to the editorial, “[t]he notion of impartial justice for all is obliterated when judges are forced to think like politicians and to curry favor with monied interests just to keep their jobs.” Meanwhile, another Post article discusses how retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has spoken out against the general trend of increasing politicization of the judiciary … Continue reading

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The Influence Industry: Judicial elections, corporate policies give glimpse into 2012

Two studies scheduled to be released Thursday offer contrasting predictions for the 2012 elections: Outside groups are likely to spend more money than ever, but many top corporations may not be among them. The first analysis, by a trio of advocacy organizations, found that almost a third of the money spent on state judicial elections last year came from outside interest groups — a dramatic departure from historic norms. The authors argue that the pattern … Continue reading

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Outside Groups’ New Outsize Influence in Judicial Elections

Non-candidate spending in state high court elections nearly doubled as a share of total costs in 2009-10, compared to the previous off-year election, a new Brennan Center and Justice at Stake report shows. This spending fueled a flood of non-candidate TV advertising, making this the costliest non-presidential election cycle ever for TV spending in judicial elections. Among the report’s key findings: Nearly one-third of all funds spent on state high court elections came from non-candidate groups ($11.5 … Continue reading

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