The Political Climate Heats Up
Merit selection for judges and public financing for judicial races are each designed to help reduce the influence of special-interest spending and politics on courts. But 2011–12 brought challenges to both reforms.
Several states that use merit selection for judges or public financing for judicial races experienced costly and politically charged races in 2011–12, exposing vulnerabilities in programs designed to keep special interests away from judicial elections. While the challenges were serious, those who brought them did not always prevail. Voters in several states rejected efforts to inject politics into merit selection retention races, although often only after costly battles where special interests weighed in on both sides. And public financing succeeded in allowing candidates to run competitive races even in the face of ballooning special-interest spending.
The greatest threat came from state legislatures. In several states, lawmakers sought to weaken or dismantle reform measures altogether—including unsuccessful ballot measures in Arizona, Florida, and Missouri seeking to politicize merit selection, and successful efforts to eliminate public financing in Wisconsin and North Carolina. Similar challenges to fair courts reforms are poised to continue through the end of 2013 and beyond.
Merit Selection Faces Challenges
To understand what happened in judicial retention races in 2011–12, it is helpful to review precursor events in 2010. Compared to contested elections, retention races traditionally have drawn far less interest group spending and pressure. But in 2010, Iowa made headlines when three Supreme Court justices, each of whom had participated in the Court’s unanimous decision under the state constitution’s Equal Protection Clause to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, lost their seats in a politically charged retention vote. The losses followed an intense campaign by interests opposed to the marriage decision. The 2010 election produced roughly $1.4 million worth of spending in a state where not a penny had been spent in judicial retention races in the preceding decade.
What is Merit Selection?
Merit selection is a judicial selection system that utilizes nonpartisan nominating commissions to recruit, vet, and winnow down applicants for judgeships. These commissions typically submit a short-list of potential candidates to the governor, who appoints one of them. In some states with merit selection, judges are subject to an up-or-down retention election for subsequent terms. Twenty-three states (and the District of Columbia) utilize merit selection to choose some high court judges.
The year 2010 also saw unsuccessful campaigns of varying intensity against the retention of judges in four other merit selection states: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, and Kansas. The events in these states led to predictions of new challenges for a form of judicial selection that had largely avoided the politicization and arms-race spending that characterizes many states with competitive judicial elections.
These challenges sharpened in 2012. Not only was there another intense anti-retention effort in Iowa, but a vigorous anti-retention campaign emerged in Florida, with high spending by the justices and other retention proponents in response. Arizona, Indiana, and Oklahoma also experienced politically charged retention races. Simultaneously, ballot measures in Florida, Arizona, and Missouri threatened to weaken merit selection in those states.
In contrast to the 2010 election in Iowa, however, the 2012 efforts uniformly failed. Voters chose to retain all sitting justices up for retention, and also rejected ballot measures that would have weakened merit selection. But with challenges to judges and to merit selection systems likely to continue, and with judges and pro-retention forces increasingly turning to fundraising and spending to support their cause, retention elections appear poised to become a second significant front in the judicial election wars.
“I am very, very stressed at the entire circumstance.… What is going on now is much larger than any one individual. This is a full-frontal attack—that had been in the weeds before—on a fair and impartial judicial system, which is the cornerstone and bedrock of our democracy.”
—Florida Supreme Court Justice R. Fred Lewis1
Florida’s Bid to Remake the Judiciary
In 2011 and 2012, Florida voters saw a multi-pronged bid to remake the judiciary by the state Republican Party and conservative groups.2 Three justices facing a retention election in 2012 confronted an unprecedented ouster drive, while voters also considered a ballot measure that would have weakened Florida’s merit selection system.
Record-Breaking Retention Battle
The ouster drive against Justices Barbara J. Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy A. Quince was, as described by the Washington Post, “a high-stakes political contest unlike any [Florida] has ever seen.”3 The retention battle attracted special-interest money and national attention.
Conservative groups targeted the three justices, creating controversy surrounding rulings in which they had participated. Most prominently, in 2010, the Court rejected a ballot proposal that sought to amend the state constitution to resist mandates imposed by the federal Affordable Care Act, concluding that the ballot proposal had “misleading and ambiguous language.”4
The Republican Party of Florida also called for the justices’ ouster, the first time a political party took sides in Florida’s nonpartisan retention races in the almost four decades since Florida first adopted merit selection. Six former state Supreme Court justices, appointees of Democratic and Republican governors, decried the Republican Party’s decision, calling it “an unprecedented attempt to politicize the judiciary.”5
Spending in the retention races quickly ratcheted up. Between 2000 and 2010, documented spending on Florida Supreme Court retention races had totaled only $7,500. In 2012, spending exploded to nearly $5 million, with outside groups accounting for nearly 70 percent of expenditures. The conservative group Americans for Prosperity spent an estimated $155,000 on direct mail and television advertising, while a tea party-linked state advocacy group, Restore Justice 2012, spent about $70,000. The vast majority of documented spending, however, came from campaign committees formed by the justices themselves as well as pro-retention allies.
The three targeted justices set up political committees to seek campaign funding, visited news media outlets, and made several public appearances to educate voters about the role and work of the courts. “The test is going to be whether the citizens of this state understand that they are not going to let the judiciary be bought,” Justice Pariente said at one of her appearances.6 Collectively, the campaign committees for the three justices raised more than $1.5 million, principally from lawyers.
Defend Justice from Politics, which was also funded primarily by lawyers, likewise mounted an active pro-retention campaign, spending more than $3.1 million on a television ad accusing “politicians in Tallahassee” of engineering a “power grab.”
Democracy at Stake—a coalition of Florida individuals and organizations formed to educate voters about attacks on the state Supreme Court and the retention election process—likewise spoke out against efforts to politicize Florida courts, urging on its website for “Floridians to see the relentless assault on our Supreme Court for what it is—a calculated power grab.”7 State bar officials weighed in as well, with a statewide nonpartisan educational campaign promoting merit selection that featured retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, an advocate for protecting state courts from political influence.
Merit Selection on the Defensive
At the same time the retention battle was raging in Florida, voters were also asked to consider a ballot measure that would have weakened Florida’s merit selection system. Known as Amendment 5, it was the lone measure to make it to the ballot among a raft of legislative proposals in 2011 that targeted the Florida courts. The proposals followed an earlier decision by the state Supreme Court to remove three GOP-backed proposed constitutional amendments from the November 2010 ballot.
Amendment 5 sought to require state Senate confirmation of the governor’s Supreme Court appointees, adding a new layer of politics to the appointment system. It also would have allowed the legislature to override any Florida Supreme Court administrative decision with a simple majority (50 percent plus one vote), as opposed to a supermajority (66 percent). Under a third component of the proposed amendment, legislators would have gained access to confidential records of the commission that investigates complaints against judges.
Proponents said Amendment 5 would make the court more accountable and restore the balance of power between the legislative and judicial branches of government. “Today the Florida Supreme Court has more power, more autonomy and less accountability to the legislative and executive branches than the U.S. Supreme Court has to Congress and the president,” then-House Speaker Dean Cannon said weeks before the election.8
But defenders of merit selection said Florida’s system not only provides checks and balances, but helps depoliticize the judicial selection process as well. Sandy D’Alemberte, a Florida lawyer, former American Bar Association president, and former president of Florida State University, cautioned that the proposed constitutional amendment “puts the nominee back into a political process, with the specter of partisan lawmakers rejecting qualified appointees over ideological issues.”9
Some of the strongest opposition came from newspaper editorial boards. “Unsatisfied with dominating the other two branches of government in Florida, Republican leaders are going for broke,” the Orlando Sentinel editorial board wrote. “They’re out to control the only branch left that will dare stand up to them—the judiciary.”10
On Election Day, Florida voters rejected efforts to apply partisan pressure to the courts. Justices Pariente, Lewis, and Quince were retained overwhelmingly, each with roughly two-thirds of the vote. Amendment 5, which would have required 60 percent approval to pass, received only 37 percent of the vote, with 63 percent voting “no.”
Iowa’s Retention Battle Redux
Conservative activists in Iowa started 2012 hoping for a repeat of the 2010 Supreme Court retention races, when three justices were unseated after a campaign targeting them for their 2009 unanimous constitutional ruling legalizing marriage for same-sex couples.11 The $1.4 million campaign in 2010 marked the first time voters had not retained a sitting justice in Iowa, which adopted a merit selection system in 1962.
In 2012, conservative groups set their sights on Justice David Wiggins, who also had participated in the 2009 decision. Among these groups was The Family Leader, led by former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. Three other justices on the 2012 retention ballot were replacements for the trio defeated two years earlier, and were not targeted for ouster.
But much had changed in Iowa between 2010 and 2012. Public opinion had shifted in favor of marriage equality.12 Members of the legal community decried the outside interference in the 2010 retention race and the attempt to use a one-issue litmus test to determine the court’s makeup. Anti-retention forces also put fewer resources into the state, spending an estimated $466,000 in 2012, as compared to nearly $1 million in 2010.
On September 24, 2012, Iowa for Freedom, an offshoot of Vander Plaats’ group, started crisscrossing the state in a “NO Wiggins” bus tour, which was sponsored by CitizenLink, Patriot Voices, The Family Leader, the National Organization for Marriage, and CatholicVote.org. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, a 2012 presidential candidate, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal joined the tour as well.
The Iowa Republican Party, which had stayed quiet in 2010, also called for Wiggins’ defeat, which would have given Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, his fourth appointment to the court since taking office in 2010.
At the same time, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady spearheaded an effort to educate Iowans on the dangers inherent in subjecting judges to political pressure, embarking on an ambitious statewide speaking tour. At his urging, Supreme Court justices began traveling to hold oral arguments in cases at locations across the state, as well as meeting with high school and college students to discuss civics education. In an effort to enhance judicial transparency and increase public trust in the state’s court system, Cady advocated for live-streaming of Supreme Court oral arguments. Cady’s efforts predictably drew attacks, including threats of impeachment. In a particularly harsh personal attack, Iowa conservative radio host Steve Deace and Republican Party of Iowa central committee member Wes Enos accused Cady’s fellow justices of being “open enemies of God” for choosing him to serve as the chief justice.13
Justice Not Politics Action, a pro-retention independent expenditure committee, also engaged in robust pro-retention and educational efforts throughout Iowa. JNPA distributed pro-retention materials, including mail and online communications, and attended events across the state to raise awareness about the importance of voting “yes” on retention.
Justice Not Politics, a coalition that included the Iowa State Bar Association, League of Women Voters, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and others, developed and distributed materials at legal events and other allied gatherings. They worked with additional stakeholders to share educational materials, including an online effort encouraging Iowans to turn over their ballots and vote in the non-partisan retention elections.
The bar association also launched a “Yes Iowa Judges” bus tour. They shadowed the “NO Wiggins” caravan to, as organizers put it, “respond to, and correct, misinformation about Iowa’s judicial system.”14 Newspapers throughout Iowa also spoke up, arguing that the anti-retention campaigns threatened judicial independence.
Spending in the Iowa Supreme Court retention election totaled more than $833,000 in 2012, down from the $1.4 million spent in 2010 but still substantial in a state with no recorded spending on high court races during the previous decade. Anti-retention groups spent $466,000 on the 2012 election, including $318,000 by Iowans For Freedom and $148,000 by the National Organization for Marriage. Both groups ran television ads. Pro-retention groups spent $367,000, including $320,000 by Justice Not Politics, $37,000 by the Iowa State Bar and roughly $5,000 each by Progress Iowa and the Human Rights Campaign. Justice Wiggins himself (like the three Iowa justices ousted in 2010) refused to raise campaign funds.
Despite receiving a 63 percent rating by the state bar, the lowest ever in a retention race—a fact used against him in opposition ads—Wiggins won retention with 54.5 percent of the vote. It remains uncertain whether the retention tempest will strike again in 2016, when the remaining three justices who ruled in the marriage equality suit will be up for retention votes.
Battles in Other States
In Oklahoma, a typically placid retention election was jolted weeks before Election Day 2012 when the state Chamber of Commerce, through its organization the Oklahoma Civil Justice Council, issued its first-ever ratings of state Supreme Court justices.
The Chamber-backed Council issued low approval ratings to two of the Oklahoma Supreme Court justices seeking retention, James E. Edmonson (32 percent approval) and Yvonne Kauger (31 percent approval), and “provisional” low ratings to two others, Norma D. Gurich (32 percent approval) and Douglas L. Combs (22 percent approval). Chamber officials said they assigned the highest scores to justices whose decisions “had the effect of restraining the spread of liability.”15
Although organized opposition to the four justices seeking retention did not materialize, the Council’s ratings prompted individual lawyers to post web videos and speak out in favor of Oklahoma’s merit selection system and retention. The Oklahoma Bar Association created a website with information about the justices and their legal backgrounds.
And, while no candidate fundraising or independent spending had been documented in Oklahoma retention races from 2000–2010, in 2012 a pro-retention group organized by Oklahoma City lawyer Terry W. West, Yes for Fair and Impartial Judges, spent more than $450,000 on air time for TV ads supporting retention.
All four justices were retained for six-year terms, each with roughly two-thirds of the vote.
In Indiana, a muted challenge to a statewide judge’s retention was mounted over a single controversial court ruling. Tea party activists, college students, and libertarians sought to oust Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David, who had been appointed by then-Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican, in 2010 and was seeking retention for a 10-year term.
Justice David was targeted after authoring the 3–2 majority ruling in Barnes v. State, which ruled, as a matter of state common law, that Indiana citizens did not have the right to use force to resist illegal police entry into their homes.16 The state legislature later rewrote the law to allow people to resist “unlawful” police actions in their homes.17
Justice David was retained, with 69 percent of the vote. No justice has lost a retention vote in Indiana since the state switched to the appointment/retention system in 1970.
In Arizona, legislators aiming to reduce the state bar’s role in judicial selection put an initiative on the statewide ballot, and Arizonans also voted in a retention contest where opponents called for the ouster of Justice John Pelander.
Arizona’s Proposition 115 would have allowed Arizona’s governor to increase control over membership of the state’s judicial nominating commission, and to reduce the influence of the state bar. It also would have ended a mandate for bipartisan representation on lists of judicial finalists sent to the governor and would have required the nominating commission to submit eight names to the governor, not three.
The ballot measure was a compromise reached over a 2011 bill, which would have wholly eliminated merit selection in Arizona.
Proponents said the compromise would improve the quality of both applicants and judges. But not all supporters of the merit system supported the compromise. Opponents included 19 past state bar presidents and five retired Arizona Supreme Court justices.
“It is a blatant attempt by the Legislature to inject politics into the judicial selection process and significantly change a system that has served our state well for over thirty-seven years.”
A controversial state Supreme Court ruling also fueled a retention challenge in Arizona. State tea party members and factions of the Arizona Republican Party called for voters to unseat Justice Pelander, citing a ruling he participated in two months before the election that allowed voters to consider a ballot proposal to end the state’s two-party primary system. (A Republican precinct chair also sent out flyers to every Republican in her precinct urging them to vote not to retain any of the state’s appellate judges up for retention who were appointed by former Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano. That effort was not successful.)
Lawyers Mark Harrison and Paul Eckstein set up the pro-retention committee, “Save Our Judges,” marking the first time in more than four decades that a political committee had been formed in an Arizona Supreme Court retention election.20
Pelander, who spent approximately $5,000 of his personal funds supporting his retention campaign, won a new six-year term with 74 percent of the vote. Arizona voters also overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 115, with 72.4 percent voting “no.”
Missouri voters also faced a ballot measure, Amendment 3, which sought to weaken merit selection in the very state that introduced the judicial selection method to the country in 1940. The so-called “Missouri Plan” became a model system for merit selection in states across the country. Yet it also has been under fire at home for years, both from some Republicans in the Missouri legislature and from a group organized as Better Courts for Missouri and funded in large part by two wealthy contractors, David Humphreys, President and CEO of TAMKO Building Products, Inc., based in Joplin, and Stanley Herzog, chairman and CEO of St. Joseph, Missouri-based Herzog Contracting Corp., a highway and railroad construction company. The two are also donors to national conservative political causes.
Amendment 3 would have allowed each new governor to control a majority of seats on the state’s judicial nominating commission, which screens and recommends candidates for the governor to choose as top judges. It would have removed one voting position on the commission that had been reserved for a member of the state Supreme Court. The ballot measure also would have increased the number of finalists submitted to the governor from three to four.
Proponents argued that lawyers have too much control over judicial selection, and that having an elected official choose both a screening committee majority and the judge would make the process more accountable to the electorate.
Defenders of the Missouri Plan included six former state Supreme Court justices—both Republican and Democratic appointees—organized with other supporters of the Missouri Plan as the Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts Committee. The Committee aired a TV ad urging voters to “keep politics out of Missouri courtrooms” and warning that “special interests want to change Missouri’s constitution and tip our scales of justice.” The narrator added, “They’re pushing Amendment 3 because they don’t like nonpartisan courts they can’t control.”
A major turning point in the campaign came in mid-October, when Better Courts for Missouri, which was unhappy with a ballot summary drawn up by state officials, decided to pull its support. At the ballot box on Election Day, 76 percent of Missouri’s voters rejected Amendment 3. Nonetheless, both sides in Missouri’s merit selection debate said the 2012 vote did not settle the issue. Both vowed to stay active.
Public Financing in Peril
With the costs of running a judicial campaign soaring across the nation, would-be judges in many states have had little choice but to raise election funds from lawyers and parties involved in frequent litigation—which leads voters to fear that justice is for sale. Public financing for judicial candidates was a bright spot in 2011–12, allowing judicial candidates in some states to pursue an alternative means of financing their campaigns that did not leave them beholden to campaign contributors or outside spenders.
But while public financing helps potential judges say no to special interest money, it faced new challenges from a surge of independent spending by outside groups and parties, along with hostile state legislatures and judicial decisions that imposed new burdens on these systems.
Supreme Court candidates in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and West Virginia utilized public financing in 2011–12, opting to receive public funds for their campaigns in exchange for limiting their fundraising from other sources. New Mexico also offered public financing for appellate races, but no Supreme Court candidates opted into the program. In total, judicial candidates received more than $1.6 million in public funds in the 2011–12 biennium.
The recent flood of outside spending in judicial races posed one challenge to the effectiveness of these public financing programs, offering a back door for outside interests trying to buy influence without directly donating to candidates.
In Wisconsin’s 2011 race, for example, three of the four Supreme Court candidates, including the two candidates who faced off in the general election, opted to receive a combined $800,000 in public financing. At the same time, outside groups flexed their muscles during the race, pouring more than $3.7 million into independent expenditures supporting both sides. In North Carolina, where both Supreme Court candidates accepted a combined $480,200 in public financing, independent groups spent more than $3.5 million supporting the incumbent, Justice Paul Newby. The challenger, Judge Sam Ervin IV, benefited from some independent spending as well, principally from a group called N.C. Citizens for Protecting Our Schools, with funding from the National Education Association, which spent approximately $270,000.
Recent court decisions also created challenges for states seeking to mitigate the impact of outside dollars with public financing. In a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving legislative and executive races, Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett, the Court ruled that states could not give candidates additional public funds in response to high levels of opposition spending, concluding that this so-called “trigger matching” mechanism violated the First Amendment.21
Arizona Free Enterprise Club limited its analysis to legislative and executive elections, but courts in North Carolina, New Mexico, and West Virginia subsequently ruled that Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s reasoning applies to judicial races as well, despite the unique concerns posed by special interest spending in support of judges.22 Accordingly, while those states remained able to distribute a basic lump sum to publicly financed judicial candidates, they could not supplement those grants with additional matching funds—limiting the funding available to candidates under the public system.
Yet even as public financing of judicial races faced new challenges from special interests and new limitations from the courts, it remained a vital tool for promoting fair and impartial courts. In West Virginia, for example, four candidates competed for two open seats, and one candidate, Republican Allen Loughry, opted to participate in a pilot public financing program established by the state in 2010. While one of Loughry’s opponents, Letitia Chafin, had more than three times as much money in her coffers as Loughry, most of it from self-funding, public financing nevertheless gave Loughry sufficient resources to broadcast three different TV ads and get his campaign message out to West Virginia voters. Loughry ultimately defeated Chafin, gaining one of the two vacant seats on West Virginia’s high court and demonstrating the viability of public financing in West Virginia.
Similarly, in North Carolina’s 2012 race, both the incumbent Justice Newby and the challenger Judge Ervin opted to receive public financing. While North Carolina saw an explosion of outside spending in support of Newby, with television spending by outside groups exceeding $3 million, Ervin mounted a strong defense, including broadcasting two TV ads. He ultimately lost by fewer than 150,000 votes. By ensuring that Ervin had the resources to make his case to the public, North Carolina’s public financing system succeeded in giving each candidate a voice even in the face of massive outside spending.
“The [public financing] program is not a panacea for the ills created by the current method of judicial selection, but it helps restore public confidence in judicial independence and impartiality.”
—Letter from 14 Justices of the North Carolina Court of Appeals to the state legislature, in favor of retaining public financing for judicial elections
Although public financing systems have proved resilient even in the face of runaway outside spending and negative court decisions, a more existential threat has flowed from recent assaults against public financing by state legislatures and governors. Wisconsin repealed its public financing program after the 2011 judicial race, and North Carolina subsequently defunded and then repealed its own program in 2013. At the same time, West Virginia voted to make its pilot public financing program permanent, offering some positive news in the face of these troubling setbacks.
Chapter 3 Notes
- Lizette Alvarez, G.O.P. Aims to Remake Florida Supreme Court, N. Y. Times, Oct. 2, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/….
- Robert Barnes, Republicans Target Three Florida Supreme Court Justices, Washington Post, Oct. 30, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/….
- Florida Dept. of State v. Mangat, 43 So.3d 642, 651 (Fla. 2010).
- Harry Lee Anstead, Raoul G. Cantero, Arthur J. England, Jr., Stephen H. Grimes, Major B. Harding & Ben F. Overton, Six Former Florida Justices Speak Up Against GOP Attempts To Politicize Judiciary, Miami Herald, Sept. 30, 2012, http://www.miamiherald.com/….
- Erin Jester, Florida Justices On Ballot Say Bias Argument Flawed, Associated Press, Oct. 21, 2012, http://www.news-press.com/….
- See Democracy at Stake, The Court is No Place for a Power Grab by Politicians, https://democracyatstake.org.
- Dara Tam, Florida Ballot Questions on Courts, Student Representation, Palm Beach Post, Oct. 22, 2012, http://www.palmbeachpost.com/….
- Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, ‘Reforms’ Would Threaten Rights, Politicize Justice, Orlando Sentinel, Sept. 21, 2012, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/….
- Editorial, GOP Should Butt Out of High-Court Decision, Orlando Sentinel, Sept. 26, 2012, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/….
- See Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009).
- James Q. Lynch, Poll Shows Plurality Of Iowans Support Retaining Justices, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa), Sept. 13, 2012, http://wcfcourier.com/….
- Jason Hancock, Conservative Leaders: Supreme Court Justices are ‘Immoral,’ ‘Enemies of God,’ Iowa Independent, Jan. 7, 2011, http://iowaindependent.com/….
- Rob Boshart, Santorum, Jindal Join Effort to Oust an Iowa Supreme Court Justice, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa), Sept. 18, 2012, http://wcfcourier.com/….
- Bill Braun, All Judges On Oklahoma Judicial Retention Ballot Retained, Tulsa World, Nov. 6, 2012, http://www.tulsaworld.com/…; Supreme Court Judicial Evaluations, Oklahoma Civil Justice Council, http://okciviljustice.com/….
- Barnes v. State, 953 N.E.2d 473 (Ind. 2011).
- See IND.CODE § 35-41-3-2 (2012).
- McGregor sits on the Justice at Stake Board of Directors.
- James A. Soto & Ruth V. McGregor, Let’s Keep Politics Out Of The Judiciary, Weekly Bulletin (Arizona), Oct. 24, 2012, http://www.nogalesinternational.com/….
- Harrison is chairman of the Justice at Stake Board of Directors, but his role in the Save Our Judges Committee was undertaken in his personal capacity.
- Arizona Free Enter. Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 131 S. Ct. 2806, 2828 (2011).
- See State ex rel. Loughry v. Tennant, 732 S.E.2d 507, 516-17 (W.Va. 2012); North Carolina Right to Life PAC v. Leake, 872 F.Supp.2d 466, 473-74 (E.D.N.C. 2012); Dolan v. Duran, No. 12110, slip op. at 17 (D.N.M. July 25, 2012). The Brennan Center for Justice represented Plaintiff Allen Loughry in the West Virginia lawsuit, seeking the release of “trigger” funds. Although the West Virginia Supreme Court struck down the public financing program’s trigger matching provision pursuant to Bennett, the court specifically held that the public financing program’s “goals — protecting the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary, and strengthening public confidence in the judiciary — are compelling state interests.” Loughry, 732 S.E.2d at 518.