judicial public financing

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The Speech in Question

North Carolina was the first state to pass a law offering an option for state judicial candidates to seek office using a full public financing system. Participation in the program has been high and public response has been sufficient to advance campaigns to offer a full public financing option for other races in the state. But a group is challenging North Carolina's law with the dubious "free speech" argument which a group of judges says misses the entire point of the program.

Contribute, Lest Ye Be Judged

Front page and above the fold in the Washington Post on Sunday was this piece on the increased profile of, and spending on judicial races. As groups with particular interest in who sits on the bench funnel money into the races, the fair and impartial judiciary runs smack into political posturing.

Some of the most vocal critics of this new paradigm for judicial elections are Supreme Court justices:

 

Bright Spot

Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post is a frequent critic of the excesses and absurdities of campaign finance and devotes her column today to the rising cost of judicial elections and attendant rise in vicious ad wars between candidates. She notes a few bright spots, including the judicial public financing systems in North Carolina and, soon, in New Mexico."

She writes:

 

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Sharon F. Valentine writes in North Carolina's Fayetteville Observer that the days of “take an aspirin and call me in the morning” reform are over, and the cure to the corruption in our political system lies in more deep, systemic change: like Clean Elections. North Carolina, shaken by Former House Speaker Jim Black's guilty plea on corruption charges, has led the way with public financing of judicial campaigns, and will soon consider Clean Elections for Council of State Races.

 

Pilot Project in Washington

David Postman at The Seattle Times is reporting that Governor Christine Gregoire has proposed a public financing pilot project for statewide judicial elections modeled on the public financing systems in place in North Carolina, Arizona, and Maine.