Justice at Stake: Citizens United Continues to Cast a Long Shadow
Washington, D.C., January 21 – Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg issued this statement marking today’s fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision:
“Five years ago, the Supreme Court in Citizens United permitted unlimited outside spending on elections. Many Americans understand the impact of Citizens United on executive and legislative branch politics, but its impact on state judiciaries is enormous and often overlooked.
“Judges in 39 states face elections, and 85 percent of all state judges are elected. With state courts a forum for ruling on many of the most contentious issues in our nation, whether health care law, abortion rights, marriage equality or environmental degradation, elected judges are being subjected to torrents of campaign spending by partisan interests who want to influence these decisions that have a major impact on our lives.
“In 2011-12, the first full election cycle since Citizens United, an explosion of independent spending helped fuel the costliest election cycle for TV spending in judicial election history. In 2014, more state records were set.
“The time has come for every state that elects judges to take a serious look at reforms to insulate judges from harmful financial and political pressure. One of the best solutions available is a switch to merit selection of judges, currently in place for high courts in two dozen states."
Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to keep America's courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom - so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law. For more about Justice at Stake, go to www.justiceatstake.org or www.gavelgrab.org.