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"I never felt so much like a hooker down by the bus station … as I did in a judicial race. Everyone interested in contributing has very specific interests. They mean to be buying a vote."
Paul Pfeifer, Ohio Supreme Court justice

Statement on McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

April 2, 2014

 Justice at Stake Statement on McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

Contact: Laurie Kinney, lkinney@justiceatstake.org, cell (571) 882-3615; Carolyn Bobb, cbobb@justiceatstake.org, cell (240) 271-7069 

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2 - Following today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down aggregate limits on how much individuals may contribute to political candidates and party committees in an election cycle, Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg issued the following statement:

“This decision is another big win for special interests and big spenders. If these trends trickle down into judicial campaigns, it will ratchet up pressure on elected  judges to answer to big money instead of the law and the constitution.  That’s bad for justice and bad for our democracy.”

Justice at Stake, along with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, recently published The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011-12:  How New Waves of Special Interest Spending Raised the Stakes for Fair Courts.  The report, which looks at the first full election cycle since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, documents escalating levels of independent spending in state supreme court elections and record-high levels of spending on television advertisements in these races.  Much of the television spending is on harsh, frequently misleading attack ads. 

As restrictions on various types of campaign spending continue to be lifted, fair-courts advocates are concerned that a resulting “pay-to-play” culture will infiltrate processes of judicial selection as well.  Justice at Stake believes that campaign money should not be a factor in selecting judges, and advocates reforms that preserve judges’ ability to decide cases based on the facts and the law, not outside political and financial influences.


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.


The positions and policies of Justice at Stake publications and campaign partners are their own, and do not necessarily reflect those of other campaign partners or board members.
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