Partisan rancor and an arms race of special interest spending in judicial elections reached new heights this cycle, as the record for TV spending by outside groups in state supreme court races was shattered.
Contributions from charter school enthusiasts, like billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, and anger over racial gerrymandering are helping drive spending by outside groups in state supreme court elections to record levels.
Outside groups have already spent a record $14 million on TV ads in the 2015-16 state supreme court election cycle, and outside spending is expected to continue to surge in the final weeks before Election Day.
Special interests know that state supreme courts have tremendous power to shape the legal and policy landscape. The rise of secret outside spending poses a major threat to the integrity of our justice system.
In recent decades, state judicial selection has become increasingly politicized, polarized, and dominated by special interests. This new Brennan Center initiative aims to spur conversation — and innovation — on ways to improve.