Help Keep Our Courts Impartial

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The Issue: Ensuring Fair, Impartial Courts

The Supreme Court, left, Federal Court, center, and the Thurgood Marshal U.S. Courthouse buildings in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Background: State judiciaries have not been immune from the increasing influence of money in politics, and in many states, judges are finding themselves targets of political advertising funded by those who oppose their rulings. In states across America, millions of dollars are being spent to pressure judges to answer to partisan agendas. Much of this spending targets judges at the state level.

The way in which judges are appointed differs from state to state, placing some judges in more vulnerable positions than others. In some states, the system mirrors the federal model, with the governor nominating a judge and a body of legislators confirming the governor’s nomination. In other states, judges campaign for a position on the bench and have to stand for reelection.

Justice at Stake’s Fair Courts YouTube channel provides a way for anyone concerned about fair, impartial courts to draw attention to ads that attack justices or the courts. Justice at Stake’s website explains that the organization “educates Americans about the crucial role of courts, defends judges from threats and intimidation, promotes diversity, and advocates reforms to keep campaign cash out of the courtroom.”

The Initiative: The Fair Courts YouTube channel is a project of the Justice at Stake campaign. Anyone who sees an ad related to judicial elections is asked to contribute to the video collection, drawing attention to the well-funded attack on court systems nationwide. If you see an ad attacking a judge or justice in your state, you can notify Justice at Stake, or capture the ad yourself and send it to them.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1354286332 Janice Schacter Lintz

    Its not just the obvious ways of contributing to campaigns or ads but also the more subtle ways such as hiring a Judge’s law clerk or being on a committee with a Judge.

    My husband’s attorney at the time Raoul Felder hired the Judge’s law clerk Anne Peyton Bryant while we were still before the Judge and shortly after the custody decision was issued. Guess who received most of the decision-making? Neither the Judge or the attorney recused themself. Do you think this could explain why the Judge fails to enforce his repeated non-payment of my support?
    I went to an event at the NYC Bar Association walked into the matrimonial bar committee meeting by accident. I saw a Judge and attorneys sitting at a table discussing the Judge’s recent case. When I asked to join the committee, I was told,
    As you know, not all Association members are appointed to a committee. Committee membership is made only by appointment of the President, and those decisions are left to the unfettered discretion of the President. I am writing to advise you that your application for committee membership has been denied.
    How come a few select people have greater access to the Judge’s insight? Does this seem right?

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    Custody Today is in a man’s Favor with or without hiring the Judge’s Law clerk and all but guaranteed if the woman does not have a Lawyer or the right Lawyer.

  • Johann Nortz

    Is it not time to begin looking into the impeachmet of some of our supreme court justices?
    A cout that reverses a precident of more than 100 year raised suspicion that “big” money id influencing their actions? The corpoation of the State and not a person to which the right of our Constitution refers to