Campaign Disclosures and the Judiciary
Many months ago in my "Contract with the citizens of Texas" I advocated a position of requiring judges to disclose to opposing attorneys the amount of political contributions that they have received from each attorney and their respective firms. If the amounts were in excess of $1,000, then I suggested that the judge would be mandated to recuse himself or herself.
This requirement would go a long way toward leveling the playing field in the courts between opposing sides.
I believe in the election of judges. It is the only way to remove corrupt, lazy and incompetent judges from the bench.
The next governor of Texas
No more corruption. No more Monicas.
God Bless Texas
February 14, 2002
Feb. 13, 2002, 6:51PM
Voters, judges say contributions in judicial races can sway rulings
WASHINGTON -- Most voters -- and some judges -- believe that donations to state judicial candidates can sway court rulings, two surveys by judicial organizations suggest.
The surveys being released today by the Justice at Stake Campaign found that 76 percent of voters and 26 percent of state judges believe donors have at least some influence on judges' decisions.
The group also released a report that said state supreme court candidates raised 61 percent more in 2000 campaigns than they had in 1998.
Justice at Stake, made up of more than 30 national and state judicial organizations, seeks to reduce the impact of money and politics on the court system. Among its partners is the American Bar Association.
The surveys found that 80 percent of judges and 90 percent of voters believe special interests are trying to use the courts to shape public policy.
Geri Palast, the group's executive director, said the findings will help its member groups pursue changes in their states, such as contribution limits, greater disclosure of donations and stronger requirements for recusal in cases affecting donors.
Roy Schotland, a Georgetown University law professor, said many national and state surveys in recent years have had findings similar to the ones released Thursday.
Those concerns have prompted movements in some states to shift from electing judges to having them appointed. But voters have repeatedly rejected that option, most recently in Florida in 2000.