Maybe it’s no coincidence that Senator Phil Berger’s new plan to cut taxes at the top, reduce public services and raise taxes on the working poor appears to have a lot in common with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s failed tax plan. It turns out the new and schnazzy website Berger unveiled today was produced by a conservative Louisiana ad firm – Innovative Advertising LLC.
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.
Exit polls apparently won’t be able to tell us if the banjo-strumming “Newby – Tough but Fair” ad attracted or alienated voters in the contest between Justice Paul Newby and Court of Appeals Judge Same Ervin IV, but if election results are the test, the ad worked.
Just ask Louisiana-based Innovative Advertising, the self-proclaimed preeminent Gulf South advertising firm which produced the ad and did the media buys for the NC Judicial Coalition and is now touting the ad on its website as “a jingle so funny and catchy that it has become a popular new ringtone in North Carolina.”
The company has plenty of reasons for its swagger, given its payday from the ad.
The Judicial Coalition, formed to support Newby’s re-election, kept pumping money into ad buys until the very end of the campaign, thanks to noteworthy last-minute contributions from the likes of SAS chairman Jim Goodnight, $25,000, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s PAC, Next Century Fund, $10,000. The state Republican Party also threw in $50,000 in the final days and the NC Chamber, another $25,000 to lift its total to $188,700.
And the pass-through PAC, Justice for All NC, continued funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Judicial Coalition’s coffers – up to $1.5 million at last count — thanks to ongoing contributions it received from the Republican State Leadership Committee, which totaled $1,165,000. Also making late contributions to Justice for All: Lorillard Tobacco $25,000; hotel management company, Summit Hospitality Group, $5000; Clinton, NC-based poultry and turkey producer Prestage Farms, $5000; and the trade group NC Health Care Facilities Association, $4000.
Technology, hospitality, tobacco, health care, insurance, education — is there any industry that did not put some dollars toward the re-election of Justice Newby?
For a non-partisan election, there’s a lot of conservative money being funneled toward the campaign to re-elect Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby. You just have to follow the thread.
And with just days left until the election, the superPAC NC Justice for All — the largest donor to the superPAC NC Judicial Coalition, formed to support the re-election of Newby – still has hundreds of thousands to spend.
It had little in its coffers through July, but since then the dollars have been rolling in. According to its third quarter report filed with the state board of elections on Oct. 29, Justice for All NC had received more than $1 million in contributions through Oct. 20, with another $338,000 posted after that date.
The bulk of that money — $860,000 — came from the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington D.C., a group with a keen interest in the outcome of the redistricting case likely to land in the state Supreme Court over the next year or two. That’s an interest shared by several state conservatives who’ve donated to the RSLC – in September alone, Art Pope’s Variety Stores donated $150,000, western Carolina businessman Phil Drake, $50,000, and Bob Luddy (who also donated $25,000 to the Judicial Coalition) $50,000.
Thus far, Justice for All has spent $720,000 of that money to help the Judicial Coalition foot the $1.6 million bill for the airing of the “Newby Tough but Fair” banjo ads. It has spent little other than that, with $25,000 going to polling and another $16,000 on legal and accounting fees.
Also donating in a big way to Justice for All to help push Newby across the finish line are the pro-school choice American Federation for Children in Washington ($100,000); tobacco affiliate RAI Services ($100,000); pro-medical liability reform group North Carolinians for Affordable Health Care ($100,000); medical liability insurance company Medical Mutual ($75,000); and a number of smaller state PACS and individuals.
Justice for All was formed back in May by Amy B. Ellis — who also formed Vote for Marriage NC back in Nov. 2011 and ACT NOW in 2009. The committee’s stated purpose is to “promote justice for all citizens and support qualified candidates for judicial office.”
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…