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"Judicial races, once staid, low-budget affairs, have in the past decade turned into mudslinging, multimillion-dollar brawls that have shaken public confidence in justice."
USA Today editorial, March 3, 2009

Partner News

January 22, 2016

How timely that a proposal to end elections of top judges in Pennsylvania is advancing in the legislature at the same time a “parade of personal, dirty ads” has begun airing in this year’s high court election, a Scranton Times-Tribune editorial said. See Gavel Grab for more details.

November 16, 2015

When special interest groups channel big spending into judicial elections, it can harm impartial justice and public trust in our courts, JAS and the Brennan Center for Justice write in Atlantic. See Gavel Grab for more. 

June 15, 2015

Justice at Stake is urging the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold rules from the Arizona Code of Judicial Ethics limiting partisan political activity by sitting judges and judicial candidates. Details available from Gavel Grab.  

April 27, 2015

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court race is making some headlines as candidates try to stand out from the crowd. Read more at Gavel Grab

February 9, 2015

It is high time to shift gears and switch from judicial election to the merit-based selection of appellate judges in Pennsylvania, a group of retired judges declared in an op-ed. Find details at Gavel Grab.

December 18, 2014

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. 

December 12, 2014

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.

November 26, 2014

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.

October 21, 2014

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

October 10, 2014

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. 

October 2, 2014

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.

September 11, 2014

 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.

September 8, 2014

 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.

August 29, 2014

 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.

August 28, 2014

 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.

August 26, 2014

 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


July 31, 2014

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.


July 23, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown has nominated Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, a Stanford law professor and Mexican-born immigrant to the United States, to the California Supreme Court. Learn more on Gavel Grab.
July 22, 2014

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.  

July 22, 2014

"[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. 

March 12, 2014

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.

January 7, 2014

 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.

December 13, 2013

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.

December 6, 2013

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. 

December 3, 2013

 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. 



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