Justice For Sale in Ohio Supreme Court

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Expensive robes.
  • Expensive robes.

The state of Ohio, already celebrating its Lifetime Achievement Award for corruption, has garnered another prestigious accolade: We’re in the high-rent district when it comes to purchasing judges.

A new report from New York University Law School, titled “The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000-2009: Decade of Change,” comes to the depressing conclusion that elected state Supreme Court seats across the country are essentially for sale. So-called “super spender” organizations sink enormous sums of money — with the identities of the donors hidden for your convenience — into attack campaigns intended to elect judges who will give them favorable decisions.

Ohio spent nearly $30 million on Supreme Court campaigns between 2000 and 2009 — good enough for second place in the country behind Alabama, which probably counted wrong anyway.

“Few states have more clearly demonstrated how the nationwide tort wars — led by the state and national chambers of commerce on one side, and unions and plaintiffs’ lawyers on the other — can be a driving force in state court elections,” says the report. We’ll take that as a compliment.

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