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.

 

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  • 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: http://www.justiceatstake.org/newsroom/justice-at-stake-in-the-news-18109/?wall_street_journal_soros_bets_on_nevada&show=news≠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: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=7661

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    1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

    2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

    3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

    4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

    5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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