Special Edition: Judicial Campaign Contributions and Expenditures

On January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The decision may be found here.

Citizens United, along with the Caperton case from 2009, may very well alter the playing field for judicial campaigns for decades to come. While several state courts of last resort have attempted to address issues through the judicial canons, the state legislatures have not been idle. This special edition of Gavel to Gavel looks at the legislation introduced in 2009 and thus far in 2010 that contend with Judicial Campaign Contributions and Expenditures.

The Special Edition can be found here.

Issue 4:2 – January 8, 2010

Gavel to Gavel issue 4:2 features:

-Focus: Special funds for courts created in 2009 – their purposes and the sources for their revenues.

-Arizona’s Senate considers a bill making it an impeachable offense for judges to reference foreign laws or make use of sharia law, canon law, or “karma”.

-Committees of Indiana’s House and Senate approve legislation that a Circuit Court Clerk is not personally liable for acts or omissions in the performance of the clerk’s duties absent gross negligence or intentional disregard of the responsibilities of the office of clerk.

Read it all here.

Issue 4:1 – January 1, 2010

Gavel to Gavel Issue 4:1  includes:

-Mississippi considers nonpartisan elections for Justice Court judges, currently the only jurists in the state that have to run in a partisan election.

-Indiana debates whether to require City and Town Court judges be admitted to the bar, a requirement for all other courts in the state.

Read it all here.

Special Edition: Judicial Recusal

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. contended with the issue of recusal and when a jurist’s refusal to do so was a due process violation. Coupled with the recent update to the ABA Mode Code of Judicial Conduct, several state judiciaries have begun to examine or reexamine their recusal standards.

State legislatures have not been idle either.  At least 17 states have examined issues surrounding the disqualification of judges from sitting on cases due to contributions to their campaigns or for other reasons. This special edition of Gavel to Gavel examines the legislation, sorted by what stage in the legislative process the bills reached as of July 2009.

Welcome to Gavel to Gavel: The Blog

Welcome to Gavel to Gavel: The Blog.

When Gavel to Gavel began publication in 2007, it was to identify trends in legislation affecting the courts. The publication was always meant to be a means to inform the ongoing debates regarding the relationship between the judiciary and legislature. With the addition of the Gavel to Gavel database in 2009, this was expanded to allow for those interested in the courts to more easily discover what it was legislatures in other states were considering. This expansion into the blogosphere was the next logical step.

This blog is intended to be a relatively open forum to provide more depth and analysis than what can be provided for in the weekly publication. The blog will also include posts from readers and others to discuss and elaborate on the pending legislation, either as subject experts or people in-state who can better lay out the environment. This is not so much a replacement for the weekly edition, but an extension.

Your thoughts, ideas, posts, and questions are welcome. You can reach me at wraftery@ncsc.org. If you are interested in subscribing to the weekly publication, email gaveltogavel@ncsc.org.

Bill Raftery
Editor, Gavel to Gavel