The lead front-page story in today’s USA Today,Â Â “States act to revise judicial selection,” focuses on efforts to protect elected courts from special-interest money,Â and includes quotes and data fromÂ Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice.
Noting recent reform efforts in West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, NevadaÂ andÂ Minnesota, reporter Fredreka Schouten wrote:
A growing number of states are rewriting their rules on selecting judges to curb the influence of special interests on judicial contests.
Thirty-nine states elect at least some of their judges, and judicial candidates for high courts raised $206.4 million for campaigns from 2000 through 2009, according to Justice at Stake, a non-partisan coalition that promotes impartial courts. That’s up from $83.3 million the previous decade.
Outside interests spent another $39.3 million on TV ads in judicial elections in the past 10 years, the group’s data show.
“It makes it look like justice is for sale,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy of The Brennan Center for Justice, which has pushed for changes in judicial elections.
The article also discusses the impact of Citizens United on reform efforts, quoting JAS Executive Director Bert Brandenburg, as saying that the controversial ruling, which allows corporations and unions to spend without limit on elections, “has given a lot of extra energy to reform efforts.”
The full USA Today story is here. To learn more, click on Gavel Grab stories about campaign finance laws, recusal reform, and judicial selection reform, or this JAS press release, hailing “national momentum” for court reforms. Or see Justice at Stake’s “Your State” national map.