Two activists in West Virginia, citing a new report by Justice at Stake and its partner organizations, conclude that “the evidence is overwhelming: special interests and partisan politicians are exploiting judicial elections to stack our courts in their favor.”
Julie Archer and Natalie Thompson, co-coordinators of WV Citizens for Clean Elections, highlight their concerns in a Charleston Gazette-Mail op-ed. They refer to Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-14, which was released last week by JAS, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and the National Institute on Money in State Politics (see Gavel Grab).
Archer and Thompson also discuss reforms. “The good news is that there is a range of solutions that can go a long way toward fixing this problem,” they write. “They include public financing of judicial elections, which West Virginia adopted in 2010, along with strong disclosure of political spending so we know who’s trying to influence our elections, and tough recusal rules to make sure that special interests can’t buy justice.