Thirty-eight states now elect their high court judges. Large sums of money — $200 million over the last decade, much of it secret and tied to partisan agendas — are pouring into these judicial campaigns. In Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, for example, justices are being targeted by radical groups that abhor judicial independence and want the courts to reflect their political bias.
In Iowa, a state whose judicial system has been praised for its fairness and impartiality, the political and religious Right ousted three justices in 2010 over marriage equality, and is now trying to take down a fourth over the same issue. But this time a bipartisan coalition called Justice Not Politics is fighting back. Its co-founders – Democrat Sally Pederson and Republican Joy Corning, both of whom served Iowa for eight years as lieutenant governor — join Bill to talk about what’s at stake when justices are at the mercy of partisan passions and money in politics.
“What people would like to do is intimidate judges and make them understand that if they make a decision that’s counter to the interests of certain groups, that they’ll go after them,” Pederson tells Bill. “You know, we elect our legislators, we elect our president, governor. If we also have money and politics involved in our courts, then what is safe from just the opinions of the day?
Full transcript available here.