When you buy a judge, he stays bought!
A study released on Tuesday by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy identified a “statistically significant” relationship between ballooning campaign contributions by business interest to state supreme court candidates and pro-business decisions by those courts.
Researchers studied more than 2,345 business-related state high court opinions between 2010 and 2012 and campaign contributions during that same time to sitting state high court judges. As the percentage of contributions from business groups went up, the probability of a pro-business vote by judges — defined as any decision that made a business better off — went up as well.
The study’s author was Joanna Shepherd, a professor at Emory University School of Law. During a teleconference, she said the findings demonstrated that state court elections were becoming increasingly politicized and expensive. She pointed to surveys showing concern within the judiciary and among the general public about the influence of outside dollars on the courts.
“The more campaign contributions from business interests the justices receive, the more likely they are to vote for business litigants when they appear before them in court,” she concluded in her report.