Gavel Grab

How Politicians are Toiling to Influence Some Southern Courts

Efforts are away across the South to tighten conservatives’ influence on a number of state supreme courts, Alex Kotch writes in Facing South, a publication of the Institute for Southern Studies.

The efforts are carried out “often in response to unpopular decisions by the courts or a fairly explicit ideological agenda to impact how courts are deciding cases,” said Alicia Bannon, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, a Justice at Stake partner organization.

Frequent readers of Gavel Grab will be familiar with the initiatives. “Republican lawmakers are changing election laws, expanding the number of justices, adding term limits, and challenging appointments to create high courts more likely to uphold their legislation,” Kotch writes. He mentions activity in these states specifically: North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. He also mentions outside group spending in the Arkansas Supreme Court election this week.

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