Record-breaking TV ad spending in 2012 judicial elections soared even higher than previously reported, to $29.7 million, according to Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice. Read details at Gavel Grab.
Judicial Election News 2012
TV ad spending in state Supreme Court elections reached a record breaking $29.7 million on more than 51,000 ads this year, surpassing the previous record of $24.4 million spent in 2004, according to new data provided by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG and released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake. Ten states saw races where TV ad spending exceeded $1 million (Ala., Fla., Ill., La., Mich., Miss., N.C., Ohio, Texas, W.Va.).
Newly elected Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack thinks Facebook ads purchased by her campaign may have won her the election. Read Gavel Grab for more.
Lawmakers will elect nine judges to newly created judicial seats next month in the largest and most contested judicial election in almost two decades. Critics aren’t pleased. They say legislators should not elect judges. Read more at The State
Voters in Bossier and Webster will return to the polls in a week to decide who will be the two parishes' new district judge. Two private practice attorneys remain in the running following an election Nov. 6 during which Springhill City Court Judge John Slattery Jr. was eliminated from the race. Read more at the Shreveport Times
...Still, Cupp wouldn’t have it any other way. He scoffed at changing the process, in part because he didn’t think voters had a strong enough opinion on it to force a constitutional vote and in part because he fears the alternative, appointing high court judges. Read more at LimaOhio
Dan Patrick's bill to eliminate it for judicial races, which has the hearts of people like Patti Hart and the Chron's editorial board going pitter-pat. One of the many ironies of all this is that of the 32 district and civil court judicial races in ... Read more at the Houston Chronicle
Newly re-elected Justice Paul Newby of the North Carolina Supreme Court is the target of a recusal motion in a redistricting case. Plaintiffs seeking his recusal contend that he had major funding from groups with a direct stake in the case. See Gavel Grab for more.
...And that’s the problem: Voters know virtually nothing about the judges they elect and are left to play the name game. The system limits judges’ ability to campaign, to raise money and even to make statements that might be construed as political. Read more at the Columbus Dispatch
Jay McAlpin can finally break out that election night champagne. He learned Tuesday, two weeks after the voting ended, that he’d won his race for a Lane County Circuit Court judgeship. The delay resulted from the contest’s having been decided by write-in votes — nearly 40,000 of them, which needed to be laboriously counted by hand. The unusual race revealed some seldom-considered aspects of judicial contests and the elections process. Read more at The Register - Guard
The dominant role of special-interest groups in an election cycle of record-breaking state judicial election spending has “severely weakened the principle of fair and impartial courts,” a New York Times editorial says. For more, see Gavel Grab.
Spending on TV ads for supreme court races reached $28 million by Election Day, surpassing the previous record of $24.4 million spent in 2004, according to a New York Times editorial citing statistics from the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake. More than 50 percent of the ads were funded by groups not connected to the candidates. Read more at the ABA Journal
Here we go again. Another big-money, highly partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court election is fast approaching, with a February primary and April election. And what will the state's important selection of a high court justice hinge on? Experience? Independence? Judicial temperament? If only that were true. Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal
...Michigan's Supreme Court race was the most expensive in the nation this year at an estimated $10 million, marked by mudslinging and accusations by Republicans and Democrats anxious to have their interests represented on the state's highest court. Supreme Court justices in recent years have rendered decisions on stem cell research, affirmative action and other divisive and important issues. Read more at the Detroit News
... It's not a stretch to be suspicious of lawmakers' motives on this one. Sure, they want voters to at least look at the names of candidates they're voting for. But politicians can also read handwriting on the wall. Inevitable pendulum swings can dent the number of offices their party holds. Axing straight-party voting in judicial races might slow down pendulum swings, but it won't correct bigger flaws in Texas judicial selection. Read more at the Ft. Worth Star Telegram
This year’s round of state judicial elections broke previous records for the amounts spent on judicial campaigns around the country. The dominant role played by special-interest money — including money from super PACs financed by undisclosed donors — has severely weakened the principle of fair and impartial courts. Read more at the New York Times
But the special interest groups that have long sought to influence the outcome of judicial elections have not been willing to give up their perceived power — measured by the almighty dollar — and have fought any attempt to change the system. Thus, Ohio continues to feature what amounts to a hypocritical method of electing judges at all levels. Read more at the Youngstown Vindicator
Spending on television ads for this year’s state supreme court races reached a record high of nearly $28 million, according to Justice at Stake. The race for the Ohio Supreme Court was one of the most expensive, with candidates reporting more than $2 million in campaign contributions and undisclosed millions in independent spending. One candidate in that race, however, refused to accept campaign cash and ran on a platform of cleaning up the state’s judicial elections. Judge Bill O’Neill won a seat on the high court with the campaign slogan, “Money and Judges Don’t Mix.” Read more at ThinkProgress Justice
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has been rightly criticized for its legal incoherence, judicial activism and equation of corporations with individuals. However, it’s not responsible for two of the most outrageous aspects of the 2012 campaign: the super PACs that claimed to be independent despite their close association with candidates, and the hundreds of millions of dollars from secret donors that paid for an avalanche of negative campaign ads. Read more at the Washington Post
...Cupp, who lost his bid for reelection this month to Democrat Bill O’Neill, said in a released statement Friday that he would not seek retiring Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton’s seat. Gov. John Kasich is expected to name a replacement for the latter, who intends to leave the bench before year’s end. Read more at the Youngstown Vindicator
The recent presidential election saw an unprecedented, yet predictable, increase in campaign spending and partisan politicking. While much of the post-election discussion has focused on national election results, that conversation has overshadowed an equally important discussion on state judicial election results, and a broader debate on how money and politics have affected the independence of judges in states that have an election system for selecting judges. Read more at Article 3
Voters will have to wait a little longer to find out who won the Nov. 6 election for four new judges in the state Supreme Court's Fourth Judicial District. All 11 county boards of elections in the Fourth District are now under an impoundment order... Read more at the Adriondack Daily Enterprise
Before his Ohio Supreme Court election victory, Bill O'Neill was warned by the Ohio State Bar Association over his in-your-face campaign statements -- yet O'Neill still insists that justice is for sale. Read Gavel Grab for more.
With the election over and the conclusion of the 112th Congress approaching, Maine Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are asking for a floor vote on the stalled judicial nomination of a Cape Elizabeth lawyer. Read more at The Forecaster