New York Tackles $$ in Judicial Elections

It’s not exactly the alternative source of campaign funding advocated by Coffee Party Austin, but a rule being adopted by the state of New York is a step in the right direction. It’s described in a February 13 article in the New York Times:

New York’s top court officials will bar the state’s hundreds of elected judges from hearing cases involving lawyers and others who make significant contributions to their campaigns, a move that will change the political culture of courts and transform judicial elections by removing an important incentive lawyers have for contributing.

… The rule is more restrictive than similar measures adopted recently in Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan and other states, and would take the question of disqualification entirely out of judges’ hands. It flatly states that “no case shall be assigned” by court administrators to a judge when the lawyers or any of the participants involved donated $2,500 or more in the preceding two years, court officials said.

If,  after this rule goes into effect, campaign contributions by interested parties drop off significantly, that could have something like the playing-field-levelling effect we expect of public campaign funding.

About Hamilton Richards

He retired in 2006 as a Senior Lecturer in Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. These days he volunteers technical support for Citizens' Climate Lobby (Austin chapter), Common Ground for Texans, (, Integrity Texas (, Austin Rowing Club, and several friends.
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