Posts tagged as:

judicial elections

For a second time, labor unions and their allies have failed to unseat a member of the majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which badly undercuts their chances of getting the court to invalidate Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10. I’ve got details at Cato at Liberty.

The retention campaign for liberal Florida Supreme Court Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince is “outspending the opposition 20-to-1,” fueled by large donations from plaintiff’s injury law firms that practice before the court, such as the law firms of Wayne Hogan, Tom Edwards, and Fred Levin, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, Grossman Roth, and Pajcic & Pajcic — not to mention defense lawyers. [Orlando Sentinel]

P.S. And from which side do you think the left-leaning Justice at Stake detects a threat to judicial independence? Right. You guessed it. See also ABA Journal [proposals to cut state bar out of judicial nomination process classed among "legislative attacks" on independent judiciary. Meanwhile, no quantity of vitriolic and demagogic attacks on jurists over such decisions as Citizens United or Concepcion ever seem to get classed as menacing judicial independence].

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Politics roundup

by Walter Olson on October 27, 2012

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July 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 23, 2012

  • Oh, ABC: “America’s Wrongest Reporter” Brian Ross achieves another feat of wrongness [Hans Bader] “Don’t turn Aurora killer into celebrity” [David Kopel, USA Today] For the media: five tips on how not to misreport the gun angle [Robert VerBruggen, NRO]
  • Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars challenges me on the War For Roberts’ Vote, and I respond;
  • The “contains peanuts” warning on a peanut jar [Point of Law]
  • “California Stats Show Elected Judges Disciplined More Often than Appointed Judges” [ABA Journal] New Federalist Society guide on state judicial selection procedures;
  • “Science Quotas for Women–A White House Goal” [Charlotte Allen, Minding the Campus; Hans Bader] More: Heritage. “Title IX swings wildly at invisible enemy” [Neal McCluskey]
  • So that’s what his business card meant when it said he practiced at Loeb and Wachs [AP: "Hawaii attorney convicted in ear licking case"]
  • Rare occasion in which defendant is allowed to strike back: California appeals court says software executive can pursue malicious prosecution case against class action lawyers [NLJ]

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Judges roundup

by Walter Olson on July 12, 2012

The good, the bad, and the beyond belief:

“Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder was dropped Tuesday from hearing all asbestos cases less than a week after her campaign committee received $30,000 in contributions from three metro-east asbestos law firms.” [Belleville News-Democrat, followup (says she'll return money); Chamber-backed Madison/St. Clair Record, followup]

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November 1 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 1, 2010

Election edition:

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One of the most highly regarded right-of-center state court jurists is up for re-election this year in my native state, and drawing some of the slimiest attacks from Democratic strategists. A sample: they’re hyping still photos of Young with his eyes closed on the bench, supposedly “sleeping,” when videotape context from moments before and after reveals the Justice to be simply blinking or glancing down. Instance #87,231, I’d say, of why it’s dubious to go to the mat in principle for the notion of selecting judges by partisan contested election. More: Tim Skubick/Oakland Press, The Blog Prof.

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Imagine that: the court’s decision to strike down a duly enacted medical malpractice law was controversial enough that Justice Thomas Kilbride might actually have a retention fight on his hands. [Chicago Tribune]

August 19 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 19, 2010

  • Judge bans $1.35 billion sugar beet crop for lack of environmental impact statement [NY Times]
  • Brennan Center, Justice at Stake attracting attention with new report on money in state court judicial races [report in PDF, Kang/ConcurOp]
  • Obama signs “libel tourism” bill into law [Levy, CL&P]
  • “Zach Scruggs claims new evidence clears him” [Patsy Brumfield, NE Mississippi Daily Journal via YallPolitics]
  • Second Circuit panel blasts 1980s abuse-accusation panic in ruling on Friedman case [opinion via NYT and Bernstein/Volokh]
  • Famed Cincinnati lawyer Stanley Chesley may face disciplinary action before Kentucky bar over role in fen-phen scandal [Courier-Journal via Dan Fisher and PoL]
  • Sexual harassment verdict against California casino “amounts to 2/3 of the company’s net worth” [Fox, Jottings]
  • Every White House needs to hire some partisan brawlers. But with “ethics czar” duties? [Matt Welch, Reason]

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January 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 22, 2010

  • Early reactions to Supreme Court’s blockbuster Citizens United ruling striking down ban on independent election advocacy [Point of Law, more, yet more]
  • Vision Media Television Group continues its legal push against online critics, Section 230 or no [Consumer Law & Policy, earlier]
  • Big FBI sting operation could leave firearms business “wounded”, some say [Point of Law]
  • Runaway’s suit against McKeesport, Pa. school district dismissed on statute of limitations grounds [AP/Law.com]
  • “Sandra Day O’Connor Backs Campaign to End Judicial Elections” [Schwartz, NY Times, my two cents]
  • “Sheriff Joe’s Enabler” [Radley Balko on Maricopa County D.A. Andrew Peyton Thomas; earlier here, here, etc.]
  • Why some D.C. lawyers make so much money year in, year out [Hill & Lat, Washingtonian, quotes Ted; Ribstein and more]
  • “Hampshire woman jailed for false rape claim” [BBC]
  • P.S. At this point, politically, Dems almost have to pass something labeled health care reform whether or not the resulting legislation makes any sense [my comment in National Journal blogger's poll, more]

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November 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 4, 2009

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Microblog 2008-11-06

by Walter Olson on November 6, 2008

  • Expects to have to fight Obama on policy, wept anyway when he came to podium for victory speech [Jonathan Blanks] #
  • Every self-respecting insider-trading ring should include an exotic dancer and a Croatian underwear seamstress [Bainbridge] #
  • New panel discussion: why are schools so bureaucratized and what can we do about it? [NewTalk] # @sekimori “Bureaucracy is to protect the system from litigation.” Not cynical to think this is one big part of the problem. #
  • @bschuelke: “Why is it so difficult to get clients’ medical records? Should be easy but is often the hardest part of the case.” #
  • Primer on role of Delaware in corporate law [NY Times] #
  • Ways to find good, underrated people [Ben Casnocha h/t Tyler Cowen] #
  • Cluelessness alert: U.K. cabinet minister criticizes blogs for not “allowing new voices” [Massie] #
  • Dems swept races for judge in Houston — unless their names were too unusual [Houston Chronicle] #

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Alabama, Mississippi and Texas all host hotly fought races with a strong plaintiff-vs.-defendant dimension tomorrow: Democrat Deborah Bell Paseur vs. Republican Greg Shaw in Alabama, three challengers vs. three incumbents on the Mississippi Supreme Court, and Democratic challengers Jim Jordan, Linda Yanez and Sam Houston in races for the Texas Supreme Court. (Tom Baxter, Southern Political Report, Nov. 3).

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New at Point of Law

by Walter Olson on November 3, 2008

If you’re not visiting my other site — or subscribing to it in your RSS reader, or following its Twitter feed — here’s some of what you may have missed lately:

Longtime readers may recall (Oct. 24-25, 2001) what we described as the “unusually bare-knuckled” tactics, “even by Philadelphia standards”, of the Philly political machine when a business-oriented advocacy group called Pennsylvania Law Watch organized with a plan to issue ratings of judges statewide. We quoted the Philadelphia Daily News at the time:

“State Sen. Vincent Fumo prompted some controversy last month when he told the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce that anyone who helped [Republican judge/candidate Michael] Eakin by donating to Pennsylvania Law Watch ’should expect to be arrested,’ according to a witness at the chamber meeting, who also said Fumo mentioned Richard Sprague as a member of a team of attorneys ready for action.”

Although no one was literally arrested, three local Democratic politicians proceeded to file a suit against Pennsylvania Law Watch seeking “a freeze on Law Watch’s assets, the right to go through its books, an injunction against its activities, and more.” Almost before the episode got any national attention, the case settled, “with Law Watch agreeing with Pennsylvania Democrats that ‘it would not attempt to influence the statewide judicial elections through advertising, ‘push polling’ or any other kind of communication with the public’”.

Now, six years later, and with no direct relation to the above, longtime powerbroker and State Sen. Fumo is going to trial in federal court “on charges he used $3.5 million in what he called ‘OPM’ _ other people’s money _ to keep his political machine well-oiled and fund a high life that included three vacation homes and heated sidewalks outside his mansion. Jury selection is expected to last a week, and the trial three months.” [AP/Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, AP/York Daily Record, Philadelphia Daily News, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review].

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I’ve got a lengthy new post up at Point of Law on this topic. Excerpt:

some of our friends in the business community have lately been taking up as one of their big causes the direct voter election of state court judges. They argue in a populist vein that the common people ought to exert control over the judiciary and that methods such as gubernatorial appointment or “Missouri Plan” merit-screening panels are too open to influence behind the scenes from bar insiders, politicians, and trial lawyers. They also appear to believe that litigation outcomes will be fairer and more predictable from a business person’s point of view when judges hold their offices by election than when they are appointed. … I must say that I find it really odd that business groups have gone off on this kick….

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June 21 roundup

by Ted Frank on June 21, 2008

  • Sure enough, former Milberg lawyers sue the convicted ex-Milberg lawyers for breach of fiduciary duty. I was wondering when that was going to happen. [WSJ Law Blog; NYLJ/law.com; earlier]
  • Why file grievance against a fellow attorney who’s only stolen $200,000 from clients? Colleagues wonder [Las Vegas Review-Journal via ABA]
  • Judge: No evidence of wrongdoing by Kenneth Pasternak. Too bad he can’t get his three years back. Meanwhile SEC keeps bringing enforcement cases on same repeatedly rejected theory of liability. [WSJ; Law Blog]
  • “What the AP and The New York Times’ Hansell don’t seem to realize is how hostile an act it is to send lawyer letters to individuals.” [Jarvis via Patterico]
  • “When judges act like politicians, the judicial selection process – elected or appointed – becomes increasingly political. Action and reaction. The politicization of the court led to the politicization of the elections for justices. … When justices arrogate political policymaking to themselves, they should not be surprised when they are held to the same standards as politicians.” [Wisconsin Policy Research Institute via American Courthouse; I said that, too]
  • Even Susan Estrich finds the Alex Kozinski web site mini-to-do as evidence of media bias. [Estrich; Patterico link roundup]
  • Senator McCaskill shows her ignorance on the Anheuser-Busch merger and corporate officer duties. [Hodak]
  • A clever attorney will already have a fill-in-the-blanks product liability complaint drafted against Lego. [Childs]
  • Hugo Chavez expropriates wealth to consolidate dictatorship. American lawyer helps. Somehow I don’t think we’ll see an Alien Tort Claims Act suit against his law firm. [AmLaw Daily]