All that campaign money has some critics worried about donors’ potential influence on the justice system.
“The courts are supposed to represent everybody equally, to a degree that’s not expected of other branches of government,” said James Sample, a Hofstra University law professor who has co-authored studies on the cost of judicial races around the country.
Only a small portion of the population donates to political races of any sort, Sample said, and judicial races generate less popular interest than other contests. That means campaigns are funded largely by “a very, very small, well-moneyed group of individuals,” he said.
“The perception of pay-for-play justice is there,” he said. “Even if it’s just a perception, that perception is a problem.”
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