The Senate voted to confirm 12 district court judges, including the first African American woman to serve as a district judge in North Carolina and the first openly gay judge to serve in the Fifth Circuit. For more, visit Gavel Grab.
Colin Powell, former Secretary of State
This year’s judicial elections may be past, but the threat to impartial courts from costly races featuring soft-on-crime attack ads endures, suggests a lengthy article at The Atlantic. Gavel Grab has more.
Judicial campaigns are getting more political, as a “new wave of campaign spending driven by outside political groups and unlimited donations" affect them, the Los Angeles Times reports. Gavel Grab has more.
A new study finds evidence that TV ads attacking state supreme court candidates for being “soft on crime” make judges less likely to side with criminal defendants. See details at Gavel Grab.
Spending on TV advertising airtime in Michigan's Supreme Court contests has climbed to $1.2 million, as the state GOP began airing an ad promoting its nominees, JAS and the Brennan Center said. Read Gavel Grab for more.
The American Judicature Society has announced that after 101 years of work to protect the integrity of the American justice system, it will close its doors. Gavel Grab has more.
When state high court judges and candidates face voters this fall, special interest groups are expected to flood the contests with spending in an effort to reshape the courts, Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice warned on Thursday. Learn more on Gavel Grab.
With incidents of violence security threats on the rise in court buildings, four Court of Appeals judges in Ohio have authorized themselves to carry guns in and outside of the courtroom. Learn more on Gavel Grab.
The Denver-based Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) and its Quality Judges Initiative have released a new report on the judicial nominating commissions used to select supreme court justices in 30 states. Learn more on Gavel Grab.
Chief Justice Sarah Parker of the North Carolina Supreme Court, who will retire Saturday, recently spotlighted her concerns about the impact on impartial courts of high-spending and increasingly politicized judicial elections. Learn more on Gavel Grab.
Ten Court-Related Items on State A constitutional amendment to change the way appellate judges are selected in Tennessee is among 10 court-related items that will appear on nine state ballots this fall, according to Gavel to Gavel, a publication of the National Center for State Courts. Learn more on Gavel Grab. Ballots This Fall
What could be the biggest state court election this year is beginning to attract more national news media attention. Bloomberg Businessweek has now zeroed in on the Tennessee Supreme Court retention election with an article entitled, “Big Political Money Now Floods Judges’ Races, Too.” Learn more on Gavel Grab.
An analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice shows that obstructionist politics over confirming federal judges has steep consequences for Americans seeking justice in our courts. Learn more from Gavel Grab.
"[M]any of our state court systems are so poorly funded that they are at a tipping point of dysfunction,” concluded a white paper issued by DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar about the economics of court funding. Gavel Grab has more.
The National Association of Women Judges will present its “Partners in Justice Award” to Justice at Stake in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Gavel Grab has more.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent signing into law of a measure that exempts “issue ads” from disclosure has the effect of making it easier for special interests to influence government and making it harder “for the rest of us,” an election law expert says.
Michigan’s legislature has sent to Gov. Rick Snyder controversial campaign finance legislation that would exempt disclosure of spending for “issue ads” and would double individual campaign contribution limits.
An Allegheny County (Pennsylvania) County Court of Common Pleas judge-elect is asking area attorneys to donate money so she can reduce or eliminate her campaign debt. To a court reform group, this practice doesn’t pass the smell test.
As Pennsylvania considers a proposal to dump its system for picking top judges in partisan elections and replace it with merit selection, “Pennsylvania is sort of in everybody’s sights,” says a former Colorado Supreme Court justice.
Vacancies on the nation’s federal trial courts have surged from 65 in July to 75 now, or 11 percent of the courts’ authorized seats, according to a new study by the Brennan Center for Justice. It is a JAS partner group.
At a 25th anniversary celebration for Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor urged a shift away from partisan judicial elections in the state.
Pennsylvania’s use of partisan elections to pick judges has come under criticism from another newspaper editorial board, this time the Elizabethtown Advocate. Its editorial cites “mudslinging” in a recent Superior Court election as evidence of need for a change.
Newly introduced bipartisan legislation for the merit selection of judges in Pennsylvania continues to capture editorial page backing.
A news outlet in still another state included in the “New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011-12” report has featured its findings and quoted two of its principal authors, Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice.