Citizens United Impact on Courts is Feared

The potential impact of Citizens United on fair and impartial courts is getting greater attention in states where judges are elected, and new voices are sounding alarms.

In Ohio, the Akron Beacon Journal declared in an editorial that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling “adds to the urgency of placing a constitutional amendment on the November ballot, otherwise Ohio risks becoming, once again, a poster child for the influence of big money in state Supreme Court campaigns.”

Reformers including Ohio Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer want to give citizens a chance to vote on replacing competitive elections for the state Supreme Court with a judicial appointment plan aimed at reducing the influence of big campaign cash and partisan politics.

In New York State, Abbe R. Gluck and Victor A. Kovner wrote in the Albany Times Union that the decision “provides a clear invitation to judicial reform.” The authors are directors of the Fund for Modern Courts, a partner group of Justice at Stake. They argued that judicial elections are likely to be inundated, especially with corporate money:

“This kind of outside interference with judicial elections plainly jeopardizes the independence of much of our state judiciary. Plainly, the sense that judges may be beholden to financial donors — whether actual or even just perceived — undermines public confidence in our courts.”

For further reading about the Supreme Court decision and its impact on fair courts, see Justice at Stake’s press statements responding to the ruling and other posts in Gavel Grab.

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