Op/Ed: Campaigns benefit voters

USA Today
Thursday, October 28, 2004

Judicial elections used to be fairly polite competitions -- but no more.
They are now as nasty, partisan and costly as other political campaigns. One example: the race for an Illinois Supreme Court seat.
One reason for the high costs is that business groups are trying to elect pro-industry judges. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has led this effort nationally, funneling corporate cash into local judicial campaigns.
Trial lawyers, the only ones who can defend average citizens, whom the courts were set up to protect, have no choice but to counter with their own campaigns. National campaigns orchestrated against local judges threaten the independence of our courts.
We need impartial judges who aren't worried that decisions will affect their professional futures. Business campaigns against judicial candidates undermine a system that has served us well for more than 200 years.
Joanne Doroshow is executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy.

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