Illinois alone empowers its Supreme Court with absolute authority to fill judicial vacancies. Given that it grants one nominating body sole discretion over these appointments, transparency is especially important.
Will the Court that permitted the injection of unlimited corporate expenditures into our election process now prevent one of the best ways to ensure candidates without corporate backing have a fighting chance? We'll know the answer soon.
The lessons from Illinois and Iowa are that judicial retention elections are becoming increasingly ugly and are beginning to look like contested political contests instead of non-partisan judicial retention elections.
Justice of a state supreme court is not a police officer or sheriff. He or she is there to follow statutes and case law precedent and to mete out justice. Sometimes that might mean making a decision that requires siding with someone unsavory or unpopular.
As a result of this ruling, judges and justices will be able to decide cases without having to wonder whether their decision will cause a handful of wealthy individuals or businesses to fund a campaign to unseat them.
If anything can convince us that judicial elections should be ended, it is the current attempt in several states to oust judges for unpopular decisions. This is a chilling threat to the existence of an independent judiciary.
Our government is not broken; it's been bought out from under us. On the right and the left and smack across the vast middle, more and more Americans doubt representative democracy can survive the corruption of money.
Guess who participated in a 2003 Frontline documentary called "Justice for Sale" to denounce this corporate money in elections? Why, that would none other than Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the Citizens United opinion.
Judges should not be treated like American Idol contestants. The judiciary exists to protect minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Electing judges reverses that noble goal and demeans the judiciary.