Archives

Uncategorized

In case you missed it in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer, lawyer Alicia Bannon of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University authored a powerful plea for state lawmakers to keep our state’s excellent public fundingsystem for judicial candidates:

“Voters and judges in North Carolina agree that justice should not be for sale. Unfortunately, the legislature and governor look poised to eliminate a successful program that helps judicial candidates say no to special interest money. Read More

Uncategorized

A professor, an economist and a judge sat in a room, crunched the numbers and reached this conclusion: More often than not, judges (in this case federal judges)  vote along party lines.

So say Lee Epstein, a professor at the University of Southern California, William M. Landes, an economist at the University of Chicago, and Richard A. Posner, a federal appeals court judge in Chicago, in their new book, The Behavior of Federal Judges, previewed in today’s New York Times by Adam Liptak

“Justices appointed by Republican presidents vote more conservatively on average than justices appointed by Democratic ones, with the difference being most pronounced in civil rights cases,” they write in the book.

A recent decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting Michigan’s constitutional ban of affirmative action policies bears out that party allegiance, Liptak notes.  “Every one of the eight judges in the majority was nominated by a Democratic president,” he said. “Every one of the seven judges in dissent was nominated by a Republican president.”

As Liptak adds:

Many judges hate it when news reports note this sort of thing, saying it undermines public trust in the courts by painting them as political actors rather than how they like to see themselves — as disinterested guardians of neutral legal principles.

But there is a lot of evidence that the party of the president who appointed a judge is a significant guide to how that judge will vote on politically charged issues like affirmative action.

True, federal judges are appointed, and perhaps that’s the news peg here, as they’ve long been perceived as above the fray of electoral posturing and politicking.

Is it any different in places where judges are elected?  Nobody’s run the numbers yet,  but one thing’s likely.  Judges who campaign are well-versed in the partisan give-and-take.

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

If you get a chance, be sure to read Fannie Florio’s column in the Charlotte Observer in which she laments the the sad state of our politics and the depths to which things have fallen in the post-Citizens United world.

Lest you think, however, that reading it will simply be a depressing bummer, know that it actually does feature an upbeat conclusion. Here’s a sneak preview: Read More

Uncategorized

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:   Read More

Uncategorized

It’s been a busy few weeks for the N.C. Judicial Coalition, the super-PAC formed to support the re-election of Justice Paul Newby to the state Supreme Court.

In its latest IRS filing, the group reported having received only $35,100 in contributions through the end of September 2012, with $25,000 of that coming from conservative businessman Bob Luddy, president of Captive-Aire Systems in Raleigh.

But the cash poured in early October, as the group spent nearly $400,000 in television ad buys for commercials to run through late October, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission.

Those buys include the following:

WTVD (Durham) — $163,495

WNCN (Raleigh) — $21,390

WRAZ (Raleigh) — $18,940

WFMY (Greensboro) — $45,150

WXII (Winston-Salem) — $21,275

WLOS (Asheville) — $36,875

WBTV (Charlotte) — $66,140

WCCB (Charlotte) — $15,705

Additional ad buys for stations like WRAL (Raleigh) and WCNC (Charlotte), as well as for stations on the coast, may have been made or are pending, as the FCC filings show folders open for NC Judicial Coalition and N.C. Supreme Court campaign buys, but those folders were empty at press time. Read More