The record-breaking, $16.5 million Pennsylvania Supreme Court election this month is no aberration, Scott Greytak of Justice at Stake writes for the blog of The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.
“Its sky-high spending, ad war among special interests, and dominance by candidates who spent the most all fit into a pattern. This grim picture threatens the evenhanded justice that our Constitution promises, and raises troubling questions about whether justice is indeed for sale,” writes Greytak.
He then compares what happened in Pennsylvania with themes of the previous election cycle as documented in Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-14. Greytak, JAS policy counsel and research analyst, was lead author of the report, coauthored with The Brennan Center for Justice and National Institute on Money in State Politics.
“Today, states that elect their judges are reaching Code Red. States must consider reforms, such as merit selection, that would help restore confidence that everyone can indeed have a fair day in court,” Greytak concludes in the IAALS blog post. IAALS is a JAS partner organization, as are The Brennan Center and N.I.M.S.P.