The verdict: Justice is for sale

Andrew Cohen follows up the report released yesterday by Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice on outside money in judicial elections — particularly Supreme Court elections — asking this question: What’s the impact?

Justice at Stake’s Bert Brandenburg had this answer:

Here’s what we can measure: the impression that justice is for sale. Our polling has shown that more than 80 percent of voters believe campaign cash has an impact on judicial decision making. And the effects of that perception are pervasive. They may be subtle, but the harm is there. It might be felt in who decides to pursue or abandon legal redress at all, whether a voter decides to participate in a judicial election at all, whether sincere public servants decide to seek elevation to the bench or turn away from it, or whether businesses choose to bring jobs and industry to a community or go elsewhere.

18 Comments

  1. NitWitCharmer

    October 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Help me understand how it is a bad thing when citizens are informed and support candidates based on that information while it is a good thing for information to be withheld from citizens allowing potential bias to hide behind the patina of objectivity.

  2. gregflynn

    October 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Help me understand how it is a bad thing when citizens are asked rhetorical questions and support candidates based on those questions while it is a good thing for citizens to be asked loaded questions allowing potential bias to hide behind the patina of objectivity.

  3. wncgirl

    October 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Go to a public meeting hosted by one of our new GOP leaders and try to ask a question. You must submit all questions in writing and mysteriously only GOP talking points come up for discussion…..

  4. NitWitCharmer

    October 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    gregflynn said:

    Help me understand how it is a bad thing when citizens are asked rhetorical questions and support candidates based on those questions while it is a good thing for citizens to be asked loaded questions allowing potential bias to hide behind the patina of objectivity.

    My biases, shrouded in a patina of objectivity or not, are the opinions of an individual exercising individual liberty within a free society while those biases of public servants, officials, and leaders that are shrouded in a patina of objectivity are anathema to a free society.

    In short, there is nothing wrong with the led knowing what leads their leaders. In fact such knowledge is a hallmark of free societies while its absence is a hallmark of dysfunctional governance.

  5. Alan

    October 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    TIN.FOIL.HAT.CRAZY.TALK.

  6. NitWitCharmer

    October 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Is it really ‘tin foil’ to believe that knowledge in voting is a force for positive governance?

    Or is it crazier to argue otherwise?

  7. Alan

    October 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    NWT,

    Its crazy ro assume that our judicial system cannot be corrupted by the influence of money. The law is the law, and should be interpreted as such, free from outside influence of ANY group, organization, or special interest.

    Money can do bad things to people.

  8. NitWitCharmer

    October 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Americans do not believe the light of day results in less corruption.

    Corruption stems from the secrecy inherent in nonpartisan elections that only result in the false objectivity of those who interpret law.

    If your argument carried the least weight you would call for all elections , law interpreters and law makers alike, to be nonpartisan. Perhaps you do. Of course that would be unAmerican.

  9. Alan

    October 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    NWT,

    You use the term unAmerican far too often. “Corruption stems from the secrecy inherent in nonpartisan elections that only result in the false objectivity of those who interpret law”, I’m not sure which part of America you represent, but certainly not a part I want to be associated with.

  10. NitWitCharmer

    October 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Alan:

    You use the term unAmerican far too often.

    Yes. It chafes the unAmerican among us.

    BTW, I represent that part of America that still appreciates an accountable government and the most accountable government is that government in which it’s leaders are forthcomming in regard to their political motivations.

    It is sad that your preference is for secrecy. That said, the NSA needs you.

    And, yes, the NSA is unAmerican.

  11. gregflynn

    October 25, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    If you really believed even a tiny portion of what you claim you would not be posting anonymously. There will always be private secretive forces seeking, with little accountability, to influence public affairs for personal benefit. In recent years changes to campaign finance laws have allowed increased secrecy by entities which have become less “forthcoming in regard to their political motivations”. The trail of private money influencing political campaigns has become more secretive, circuitous and voluminous in recent years. Information is not necessarily knowledge, nor is it wisdom. A well funded bullhorn can convey much information but leave the listener less informed.

    Where is the Life we have lost in living?
    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
    T.S. Eliot, “The Rock”

  12. NitWitCharmer

    October 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

    gregflynn said:

    If you really believed even a tiny portion of what you claim you would not be posting anonymously.

    Anonymity is in the tradition of America going back to the Federalist Papers and further. It is a tradition of discussion in which ideas are more important than the speaker. It is unsurprising a liberal would attack not only American tradition, but a discussion of ideas over personality.

    gregflynn said:

    In recent years changes to campaign finance laws have allowed increased secrecy by entities which have become less “forthcoming in regard to their political motivations”. The trail of private money influencing political campaigns has become more secretive, circuitous and voluminous in recent years. Information is not necessarily knowledge, nor is it wisdom.

    Are the political motivations of private individuals your concern or the concern of governance? Should our government follow the political predictions of its citizens? I think not. It unsurprising an unAmerican Democrat would believe otherwise.

  13. Alan

    October 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    And yet again, NWT labels someone else as unAmerican. Is everyone on your paranoid enemy list?

    The Teabaggers are getting desperate, public opinion has turned against their bat-**** crazy, tin-foil hat crazy talk, and exposed them to be nothing more than a tool of wealthy special interests, with so little intellect amongst their ranks they don’t even realize they’re being used.. No amount of nationalistic, flag waving, so called “patriotism” can save them.

  14. NitWitCharmer

    October 27, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    How are you American?

  15. Alan

    October 28, 2013 at 7:04 am

    By being unlike you?

  16. NitWitCharmer

    October 28, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I see… you base your personal sense of Americanism on the beliefs of others, and in this particular case as a counterweight to my belief in individual liberty.

    Perhaps I should rephrase my question…

    Can you point to American roots in any of your political beliefs?

  17. Alan

    October 28, 2013 at 8:01 am

    NWT,

    What on earth are you talking about? I really don’t care about your TeaBagger liberty statements, they’re hollow, much like everything else from the Teabaggers. I know you may find this hard to accept, but ~75% of the country has a negative opinion of these Gaston/Confederate flag waving “patriots”. You can preach all you like about liberty, freedom, etc., etc., etc…. but nobody cares.

    PURE.TIN.FOIL.HAT.CRAZY.TALK

    Unlike the TeaBaggers, I can think for myself. Pehaps the lemming

  18. Alan

    October 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

    cont. Perhaps the lemmings of the TeaBag movement should try thinking for themsleves, rather than listed to Rush & Beck?