19 March 2010

Campaign Finance in West Virginia

West Virginia's proposed stab at publicly financed state Supreme Court elections continues to garner national attention.

The New York Times devoted a Friday editorial to the just-passed bill. It invokes the "scandal" stemming from the 2004 campaign that played a role in a recent U.S Supreme Court ruling. It offers the legislation as contrast, opining that West Virginia " is setting a good example at a time when judicial neutrality and the appearance of neutrality is under severe threat across the country from escalating special-interest spending on judicial campaigns."

The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog followed up with a post on the editorial and the underlying legislation. "Interesting," it says, but adds that "we’re initially skeptical for a couple reasons:"

For starters, states are struggling badly. With unemployment hovering around or above 10 percent in many states, we can’t imagine freeing up funds for judicial elections is necessarily going to be at the top of many voters’ lists.

Furthermore, we’ve yet to fully see the impact of the Citizens United decision, which banned certain types of election spending by corporations and unions. Stay tuned.

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