Monday, April 14, 2003

Buying The Judiciary?

Read this editorial from the Multinational Monitor.

"In 2000, the Chamber of Commerce and a host of business interests decided that they could buy state supreme court elections. That year, state supreme court candidates raised more than $45 million, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, a 68 percent increase from 1998 and more than double the amount of 1994..."

There is much more damning information in the editorial. Obviously, this doesn't bode well for democracy and justice. MNM concludes by suggesting...

"The most sensible option -- for judicial elections perhaps even more than others -- is the clean money approach. This involves full public financing of candidates meeting minimal criteria to show that they have a breadth of support. While candidates are free to refuse public financing, those accepting public monies receive matching money to offset expenditures above a certain level by candidates opting out of the system. The calculations would take into account independent expenditures for the candidates. For the system to work most effectively, as the Brennan Center, which endorses it, points out, there should as well be vigorous disclosure laws, especially for independent expenditures, and dollar limits on individual, corporate and union contributions."

Eternal vigilance is required. We need to defend our institutions from those who seek to buy them.