Electing, i.e., buying judges: a class action lawsuit v State Farm (which allegedly bought a judge)

From the Brennan Center, a class action lawsuit against State Farm Insurance because, it is alleged, State Farm bought a judge, tells you all you need to know about electing judges, i.e., who is financing their elections?

STATE JUDICIAL SELECTION

Class Action Suit Approved in State Farm Judicial Election Case

Federal judge, David R. Herndon, held that nearly five million State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. policyholders can bring a class action suit against the company for “allegedly buying a judge,” writes Jay W. Belle Isle for Legal Reader. Belle Isle states that the case revolves around Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier’s 2004 election and the support he received from State Farm. According to Belle Isle, “the plaintiffs allege that the insurer backed him expressly for the purpose of his assistance in voting to overturn a $1B verdict against the business,” which Karmeier did in a 2005 ruling. State Farm spokesperson Missy Dundov said that State Farm plans to ask “the appellate court to review this ruling in the very near future.” She added that the plaintiffs “have unsuccessfully asserted and reasserted these allegations for many years and should not be permitted to do so any longer.” Looking at 2016, a recent op-ed by Dorothy Samuels and Alicia Bannon appearing in The American Prospect highlighted the high amount of independent spending and dark money that has been seen so far in judicial elections this year and the risks this money poses for judicial fairness.

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