Since the Caperton decision came down last week, the reaction from the states that have judicial elections, or may potentially have them, has been mixed.
Starting in West Virginia, where legislative options are being studied to prevent a situation like Caperton from happening again, the reaction was positive. West Virginia State Sen. Jeff Kessler, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, said the U.S. Supreme Court decision would add some energy to the steps he has proposed, according to The Charleston Gazette.
Eric Velasco of The Birmingham News, in Alabama, states that the ruling will have little effect on Alabama’s nasty statewide judicial elections. Justice at Stake’s Charlie Hall was interviewed for this article, and his reasoning behind the lack of change was due to Alabama’s lack of transparency in campaign contributions. Hall said, “You can’t ask a judge to step aside if you don’t know where the money is coming from. Alabama needs to open the windows and let the sunlight in.”
This sentiment was shared by The Birmingham News editorial board, which wrote:
In Alabama, the impact of the Supreme Court ruling will be further diluted by the difficulty of identifying the source of campaign donations. The state allows contributions to be routed through a maze of political action committees. These PAC-to-PAC transfers are intended to hide the real donors and keep the public from learning about possible conflicts involving candidates and their campaign sugar daddies.
While the mood is skeptical in Alabama, the situation is more positive in Ohio. (more…)