The report, Skewed Justice: Citizens United, Television Advertising and State Supreme Court Justices’ Decisions in Criminal Cases, is available at the link.
"Study: Campaign Spending Skews Justice Against Defendants," is by Marcia Coyle at the National Law Journal.
Skyrocketing spending on television advertising in state supreme court elections has rendered justices less likely to vote in favor of criminal defendants, a new study found.
And in the 23 states whose election bans on corporate and union independent spending fell because of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, justices also were less likely to vote for criminal defendants than before the 2010 decision.
Although their priorities are not necessarily criminal justice policy, outside interest groups, fueling the spending explosion in judicial elections, have discovered the effectiveness of "soft on crime" attack ads, and that is having concrete effects on judicial decision-making, according to the study's authors, Joanna Shepherd and Michael Kang of Emory University School of Law in Atlanta.
The two law professors, with support from the American Constitution Society, collected and coded data from more than 3,000 criminal appeals decided in state supreme courts in 32 states and examined published opinions between 2008 and 2013. The researchers coded individual votes from more than 470 justices in these cases and merged the coded cases with data from the Brennan Center for Justice on the number of TV ads aired during each judicial election during the survey period.
The Greensboro News-Record in North Carolina posts, "Money in Supreme Court elections influences decisions, study says," by Doug Clark.
More money is being poured into these races, in large part because of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010.
For example, a group called Justice For All NC spent heavily in the 2012 North Carolina Supreme Court race and in this year's primary. It receives most of its funding from the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington, which gets its money from Reynolds American, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the U.S. Chamber, Koch Industries and other businesses.
The TV ads these groups run typically focus on criminal cases. The ad run against N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson tried to portray her as soft on child molesters.As the Skewed Justice study points out, it's not that the groups running the ads really care about criminal matters. They're trying to elect judges who will be more accommodating of their business interests.