The outside spending spree on the race for a seat on North Carolina’s Supreme Court continues to set records. As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported this morning, a conservative group spent $1.3 million on one TV ad alone.
Interestingly, the spree has given rise to competing views from thoughtful sources as to what, if anything, we should do about all this.
The Charlotte Observer says that enough is enough:
“Whether such infusion of such money into judicial elections influence a judge’s independence can be debated. But the amount of special interest dollars flowing into this race highlights again the need to consider appointing N.C. judges. The governor or a bipartisan commission could fill a vacancy, then the appointee could face election a couple of years later, and periodic retention elections thereafter.
Appointing judges might not get rid of the politics in selections, but it can get rid of special interest, super PAC money that has the potential of unfairly tilting the scales of justice.”
Meanwhile the Fayetteville Observer seems to have drawn the opposite conclusion:
“Judges are, by and large, a hardy lot. They know their jobs. Most are conscientious and tend not to be thin-skinned. They’re entitled to their party preferences, but there’s no contract in those that can compel them to do their work badly.
The deep-pockets donors haven’t bought anything; they’ve gambled. Our hope and expectation is that, at some point or points, the winner of this race will prove to be a bitter disappointment to those who wagered most heavily on his campaign.”