Americans think 'justice is for sale'

October 29, 2013
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Money talks, the saying goes, and many Americans think it’s telling judges how to rule on cases, according to results of a poll released Thursday.

Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice commissioned the poll that found nearly 9 out of 10 Americans believe campaign donations affect courtroom decisions.

“They’re worried that justice is for sale,” Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, said in a news release.

The poll asked 1,200 registered voters about campaign donations made directly to judges’ campaigns as well as about “independent spending,” in which outside groups spend their own money on TV ads and other election materials for or against a judicial candidate. The poll revealed that 87 percent of voters believe both kinds of spending have either “some” or “a great deal” of influence on judges’ decisions.

A judge should step aside, 92 percent of voters said, when one party in the case has either donated directly to the judge’s campaign or spent significantly on election materials designed to help elect the judge.

According to a new report by the two groups, independent spending on judicial races by special interest groups hit a record high in 2011-2012 of $15.4 million.

Randall T. Shepard, former Indiana chief justice, is a member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors. The group’s focus is keeping courts fair and impartial.


  • full disclosure
    Justice at Stake is dedicated to push the Soros agenda of only judges appointed by non elected kommissars. From their website: :Key state issues and reforms concern the growing expenditure of money to elect judges and whether judges should be elected or appointed to the bench." Question ... who pays the freight for this group?
    • Yes Soros is here
      Here is Justice at Stake admitting that Soros funds them:≠wsID=9033 So former Chief Justice Randall Shepard is a friend of George Soros and his Open Society?
    • democracy is a slogan for the war machine not a reality for americans
      Sure money affects voting in campaigns. But the cost of influencing elected judges via campaign contributions is a lot steeper and the outcomes less predictable than the cost of controlling them via the political appointment process. The political appointment process is one that puts elected officials in charge of appointment process in a place of heavy reliance on those large private professional organizations like the ABA who "vet" the candidates "professional qualifications" and also apply ideological acid-tests behind closed doors. When judges have to stand for election or re-election, the populace has a chance to veto what we the law-establishment think they should do. Most judgeship elections are uneventful but there are recent examples in Indiana which show that the electorate may still have an opinion in spite of our collective endorsements and approvals. Major changes to American society have happened in this century via judicial fiat rather than "democracy." Roe v Wade is one example and the trend of judicial approval of homosexual unions is another. It is odd that USA is now the top-cop in the world for "democracy" but the democratic will in the early 1970s against abortion or the democratic will against same sex unions was overcome not by elections nor public debate but essentially by judicial decision. Ironic that the US seeks to impose democracy on foreign societies that seem disinclined to it, even to the point of war of aggression to accomplish such aims, and yet at home when the democratic will does not bend the way the oligarchs want it to, they resort to other ways of accomplishing the social engineering nonetheless. Anyways, hopes and complaints to the contrary, it may be inevitable that election of judges will wither away just as Plato observed democracy inevitably declines into oligarchy. Plus ca change, plus le meme chose.
    • Soros has not left the buiding
      Proof that Justice at Stake is a George Soros operation:

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    1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

    2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

    3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

    4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

    5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.