Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wisconsin Debating Effects of Judicial Donations

Forcing judges off cases because of campaign donations would impair the public's ability to participate in judicial elections, says a proposed order by the state Supreme Court that could be finalized Thursday.

"Disqualifying a judge from participating in a proceeding solely because the judge's campaign committee received a lawful contribution would create the impression that receipt of a contribution automatically impairs the judge's integrity. It would have the effect of discouraging 'the broadest possible participation in financing campaigns by all citizens of the state' through voluntary contributions . . . because it would deprive citizens who lawfully contribute to judicial campaigns, whether individually or through an organization, of access to the judges they help elect," says the proposed order, which quotes from state statutes.

On a 4-3 vote, the court in October voted to adopt a rule that said campaign contributions and endorsements alone do not require judges to step aside in cases. They also approved a rule that said ads run by groups independent of a judge's campaign in and of themselves were not enough to require the judge to step aside.

The October vote showed how the justices felt about the new rules in concept, but to put them into effect they need to issue a written order. That order, which includes a detailed rationale for the rules, will be debated Thursday and could be approved then.

Full Article and Source:
Proposed Order on Judicial Donations Remain Up for Debate


LoriView said...

America would be better served if judges were appointed - not elected - and then subjected to retention elections after their first term - supported by citizen watch groups reporting on the judges.

Anonymous said...

How in hell does an uneducated litigant know who's supporting the judge's campaign?

Can you "sue the bastards" when they make promises they don't keep - just like politicians?

Sue said...

Quote from our Wisconsin lawyer: "hell hole of litigation".

jerri said...

oh i like this article that expects us to believe that all judges are not looking at the parties before him / her without adding up the $$$$ coming his / her way influencing decisions as in probate court how would a judge decide? go with the probate pals the ones stuffing campaign contributions in the judges war chest? or take the chance and anger them by not deciding in their favor? i think the answer will be found in the guardianship case files which are sealed / closed and not available via circuitcourt access in the state of wisconsin nice way to keep wheeling and dealing in the dark ey?

StandUp said...

WHAT? Somebody pinch me --- they're actually saying that contributions to a judge's election don't influence the judge?

This is CRAZY!

Anonymous said...

NUTS! They're all NUTS!