According to a new report, spending on state Supreme Court elections has doubled in the last decade. According to polls, three in four Americans believe money spent on campaigns for judgeships can affect later courtroom decisions; some states are calling for methods to protect the court system from special-interest money donated during election season.
The report, "The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000-2009: Decade of Change," was released on Monday and is the first comprehensive study of spending in judicial elections in the past ten years. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Justice at Stake Campaign compiled the report.
The report includes the following statistics:
According to the report, however, states including Michigan, Wisconsin, New Mexico, North Carolina and West Virginia are working towards various reforms, which include public financing laws to regulate court races or adopting new recusal rules for judges when cases involving contributors come up.
Adam Skaggs, an attorney for the Brennan Center for Justice and co-author of the report joins us to discuss its findings. Also, Chris Christoff, a politics writer for Detroit Free Press, talks about the upcoming Supreme Court elections in Michigan, which ranked third among the states for spending on state Supreme Court candidates' TV ads in the past decade.