The Wall Street Journal has an interesting op-ed this weekend on state judicial elections.
Lloyd Karmeier, the winner of a $9.3 million campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court in 2004, was supported by $350,000 in direct contributions from employees, lawyers and others directly involved with the insurer State Farm and/or its then pending appeal, and by an additional $1 million from larger groups of which State Farm was a member, or to which it contributed. Almost immediately upon taking the bench, he cast a vote ending proceedings on a $456 million claim against State Farm. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial put it this way: “Although Mr. Karmeier is an intelligent and no doubt honest man, the manner of his election will cast doubt over every vote he casts in a business case.”
James Sample concludes that the the biases resulting from donations might be worse than we thought. Worth a read.