Report: Campaign Contributions Influence State Courts

, The National Law Journal


A study released on Tuesday by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy identified a "statistically significant" relationship between ballooning campaign contributions by business interest to state supreme court candidates and pro-business decisions by those courts.

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What's being said

  • Tax Lawyer

    I haven't read the actual report, but based on this article, it would appear to me that the report is essentialy worthless. I don't doubt that the judges who get campaign contributions from businesses end up deciding cases in a "pro-business manner", whatever the heck that means, which is a totally different issue we won't get into right now. But correlation and causality are NOT the same thing! Of course businesses are going to contribute to a judicial candidate who appears to have a legal view that the business findis similar to their own.

  • Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

    It's nice that the media and various left-leaning groups are now showing an interest in judicial campaign contributions, but where was this interest for decades when plaintiffs' bar money flooded the zone unchecked and left too many state judiciaries littered with plaintiff-friendly hacks? Now that business groups have finally awakened to the need for fighting fire with fire, suddenly it's newsworthy and the focus of studies.

    In any case, according to Prof. Shepherd's study reported here, businesses are still losing in state courts marginally more often than they're winning, so our work to attain greater fairness must continue.

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