Jeffrey Toobin, who often writes about our justice system and the people within it for the New Yorker, cites the buying of supreme court judges has become "biggest outrage concerning money in politics."
A new report, issued yesterday by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, shows that the race for control of state judiciaries has become a rout. The report, entitled “Big Business Taking over State Supreme Courts,” found that,
Fueled by money from corporate interests and lobbyists, spending on judicial campaigns has exploded in the last two decades. In 1990 candidates for state supreme courts only raised around $3 million, but by the mid-nineties, campaigns were raking in more than five times that amount, fueled by extremely costly races in Alabama and Texas. The 2000 race saw high-court candidates raise more than $45 million.
In the subsequent decade, the numbers have only grown bigger. As the report notes, “more than 90 percent of special interest TV ads in 2006 were paid for by pro-business interest groups. Conservative groups spent $8.9 million in high court elections in 2010, compared to just $2.5 million from progressive groups.”
The numbers are necessarily incomplete because judicial campaigns in many states are lightly regulated, and it’s often been difficult to identify the real sources of contributions ... Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker
It won't surprise many that Karl Rove has been a leader in what might be called the privatization-- and control -- of state supreme courts. Toobin writes: "Karl Rove first became famous because of his victories in Texas judicial elections." And in Texas it's bad, it's really bad.