More On Campaign Contributions And Judical Elections

posted by Judge_Burke @ 14:00 PM
June 17, 2013

“Justice at Risk: An Empirical Analysis of Campaign Contributions and Judicial Decisions.” The American Constitution Society issued this report (PDF), written by law professor Joanna Shepherd a law professor at Emory University. A discussion of the report is featured in the Washington Post Wonkblog.  The study, sponsored by the American Constitution Society and designed by experienced independent empirical researchers, comes in response to growing concern among the public—and judges themselves—about increased politicization of judicial elections.

Justice at Risk argues that:

•             There is a significant relationship between business group contributions to state Supreme Court justices and the voting of those justices in cases involving business matters.

•             The more campaign contributions from business interests justices receive, the more likely they are to vote for business litigants appearing before them in court.

•             A justice who receives half of his or her contributions from business groups would be expected to vote in favor of business interests almost two-thirds of the time.

•             The empirical relationship between business contributions and justices’ voting for business interests exists only in partisan and nonpartisan systems; there is no statistically significant relationship between money and voting in retention election systems.

•             There is a stronger relationship between business contributions and justices’ voting among justices affiliated with the Democratic Party than among justices affiliated with the Republican Party.

In the 15 years since the last significant collection of data on judicial elections was assembled, fundraising for judicial campaigns has skyrocketed, more than doubling, from $83.3 million in 1990–1999 to $206.9 million in 2000–2009.


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