Take Over the Courts, and the Money Just Flows

By October 30, 2008Briefly Legal

Wall Street Journal’s lead editorial today, “State Courts in the Balance“:

The November 4 ballot will feature an unusually high number of judicial races that could tip the balance of several state supreme courts. The trial bar senses an opening in what may be a Democratic year and is pouring cash into the races to reverse what has been a nationwide legal reform tide.

The Journal highlights state supreme court races in Alabama, Michigan and Ohio and notes the role of Big Labor — a special interest that manages to escape being called a special interest — in trying to swing the races toward the judges more interested in achieving political goals than interpreting the law.

Also mentioned is “merit selection,” the process of selecting judges through a supposedly impartial panel of experts that winds up being dominated by trial lawyers — a special interest that manages to escape being called a special interest. “Merit selection” limits or even eliminates the voters’ role in judicial selection.

From the NAM ally, the American Justice Partnership, we note this:

Voters across America overwhelmingly support the direct election of state Supreme Court justices over a nominating commission/appointment process, according to a nationwide voter opinion survey conducted by the polling firm of Ayres, McHenry & Associates.

Seventy-five percent of voters think that state Supreme Court justices should be elected, while 21 percent think they should be appointed. After hearing a variety of arguments in favor of each position, voters maintain this position by a nearly identical 74 to 23 percent margin.

We commend the personal blog of AJP’s Dan Pero, American Courthouse, that focuses on the judicial selection process and the attempts of the trial bar and left-wing activists to reshape the courts so the courts can reshape the economy and society.

(Disclosure stuff: Michigan Chief Justice Cliff Taylor, discussed in the WSJ editorial, was appointed to the court by then Gov. John Engler, now President of the NAM. The justices in Ohio and Alabama were not.)

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