JANUARY 24, 2006
Most states have a strict judicial code of conduct that limits the political activity of sitting judges, making the election of state judge’s nonpartisan and low key. A Supreme Court decision, however, will probably transform them into big-money contests that resemble partisan political races with lots of special interest money.
The justices let stand a lower court’s free-speech ruling in a Minnesota case that eliminates rules–in effect in most states–that forbid candidates for judgeships from personally soliciting money or from identifying their political party affiliation.
That means judges can engage in partisan campaigning and personally seek funds. This hands special interests a victory and will exacerbate the rising tide of money and politics flooding into America’s courtrooms, according to the conservative news service BBSNEWS.
The Washington, DC based Justice at Stake warns that no state that elects its judges is safe from the corrosive effects of big money, nasty TV ads and special interest arm-twisting. Last year the organization published a lengthy report titled “How Special Interest Pressure On Our Courts Has Reached a Tipping Point.“
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