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"This whole politicization of the courts is really going to tear apart the court system ... That's what I'm fearful of."
Illinois Justice Thomas Kilbride

Notable Quotes


Notable Quotes


Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Feb. 24, 2008, Parade Magazine commentary:


I am anxious about the state of the judiciary in America. I am not concerned about particular judges or cases, nor am I concerned about the judiciary shifting right or left. What worries me is the manner in which politically motivated interest groups are attempting to interfere with justice.


Justice O’Connor, Nov. 15, 2007, Wall Street Journal commentary:


Motivated interest groups are pouring money into judicial elections in record amounts. Whether or not they succeed in their attempts to sway the voters, these efforts threaten the integrity of judicial selection and compromise public perception of judicial decisions.



Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, after winning a 2004 election that cost a total of $9.3 million:


``Basically that's obscene for a judicial race. What does it gain people? How can people have faith in the system?''





American Bar Association President H. Thomas Wells Jr.:

“The system sets up its judges to rely on campaign contributions from interests that argue before the courts. … We urge citizens in states under the grip of increasingly costly court races to band together and find solutions that remove the potential influence of money from our courts.”



Paul Pfeifer, Ohio Supreme Court justice, as quoted in a 2006 New York Times article:

"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."


Former California Justice Otto Kaus, referring to controversial cases at election time:


“You cannot forget the fact that you have a crocodile in your bathtub. You keep wondering whether you’re letting yourself be influenced, and you do not know. You do not know yourself that well.”



Committee for Economic Development, in a U.S. Supreme Court brief signed by Wal-Mart, Pepsico, Intel and Lockheed Martin:


“Essential to public confidence in the judiciary is the assurance that justice is not for sale and that legal disputes will be resolved by fair and impartial judicial officers.”



West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Larry V. Starcher, in a memo in which Starcher recused himself, and also criticized fellow Justice Brent D. Benjamin’s refusal to leave the case:


“Just think about it: $4 million! I hardly know a soul who could believe that a justice who benefited to this extent from a litigant could rule fairly on cases involving that litigant or his companies. … This is the very definition of ‘appearance of impropriety.’ ”


More from Starcher’s Feb. 15, 2008, memo:


“The pernicious effects of Mr. Blankenship’s bestowal of his personal wealth, political tactics, and ‘friendship’ have created a cancer in the affairs of this court.”


Former U.S. Solicitor General and attorney on behalf of Hugh Caperton, Theodore Olsen:


"The improper appearance created by money in judicial elections is one of the most important issues facing our judicial system today."



Poll Data: What the public, judges and business leaders think about judicial campaign spending 

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