PLEDGE NOW
Electing Judges: Justice for Sale?

An alarming new study says spending on state Supreme Court elections has more than doubled in the past decade.

West Virginia judges rehear a case after photos surfaced showing a state Supreme Court Justice vacationing with a person involved in a pending case. Judicial elections in West Virginia have remained controversial, with one disputed election leading to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. (AP)

Americans widely bemoan the influence of big money in their politics. Now, let’s look to the courts. 

A new study, out this week, says spending on state Supreme Court elections has exploded – more than doubled – in the last ten years. Twenty-two states elect top judges and sixteen more have retention elections. 

Smart money, big money, has figured out that can mean a lot of leverage. Former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor is warning that a perception of “justice for sale” in this country threatens to undermine the rule of law. 

We look at money, justice and the courts.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, a nonpartisan campaign to keep state courts fair and impartial. His organization’s new, eye-opening report, “The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000-2009: Decade of Change,” was just released.

James Bopp, Jr., attorney with Bopp, Coleson and Bostrom, and the James Madison Center for Free Speech. He’s known as the legal mind behind the Citizens United case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations, unions and nonprofits can spend any amount to support or oppose the election of a candidate. He is currently serving as a lawyer for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is defending his ads during the 2008 election in that state.

Penny White, professor of law at the University of Tennessee College of Law and a former Justice on Tennessee’s Supreme Court. She lectures widely on judicial independence and the need for reform.

Clifford Taylor, former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. He is a currently an attorney and law professort at the Ave Maria School of Law.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 30, 2015
Shereef Bishay, co-founder of Dev Bootcamp, center, talks with student Ryan Guerrettaz during a class at Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Dev Bootcamp is one of a new breed of computer-programming schools that’s proliferating in San Francisco and other U.S. tech hubs. These “hacker boot camps” promise to teach students how to write code in two or three months and help them get hired as web developers, with starting salaries between $80,000 and $100,000, often within days or weeks of graduation. (AP)

From barista to tech wiz. Computer coding boot camps are hot. Vaulting their graduates in just months into high-paying jobs. We’ll look at the surge.

Jul 30, 2015
Conan O'Brien speaks at the 43rd AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Tribute Gala at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Los Angeles.  (AP)

Who owns jokes? Seriously. In the age of social media, the lines are murky.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 29, 2015
The transit area at Terminal 3 in Singapore's Changi Airport, ranked as the world's best airport by SkyTrax, a UK-based travel consultancy. (WikiCommons / Jay8g)

New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to be torn down and rebuilt. We’ll consider what makes a great airport now, and how the US stacks up to the global competition.

 
Jul 29, 2015
Federal investigators respond to the scene of a shooting at the Grand Theatre on Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, La. (AP)

Guns, background checks, and mass shootings. A new outcry over the system that decide who gets a gun and who doesn’t.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Q & A: Scott Walker On The Iran Deal, Huckabee Comments
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explains his opposition to the Iran Deal, his record of statewide electoral victory and why he feels he’s set to win the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

More »
Comment
 
Q & A: Carly Fiorina On Trump, Sexism, And Being Cut From The GOP Debate
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard, joined guest host John Harwood to talk Donald Trump, the upcoming Republican candidate debate and sexism in modern life.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The News: July 24, 2015
Friday, Jul 24, 2015

You all really, really love to listen to our week in the news segments (that’s great) and we wonder why. Plus: Alex Trebek can’t really sing, in case you were wondering.

More »
2 Comments