July 20, 2018 -
With President Trump nominating a judge with a record of hostility to voting rights to the U.S. Supreme Court, state courts and constitutions are likely to play an increasingly critical role in protecting those rights — but those institutions are under political assault by conservatives.
June 6, 2018 -
At the same time President Trump is appointing federal judges with a history of opposing equal rights for LGBTQ people, national conservative groups are spending big to elect LGBTQ-hostile judges to state supreme courts.
December 19, 2018 -
As the lame duck governor heads to the U.S. Senate, Florida is losing its only black Supreme Court justice. That’s no accident: A drastic loss in racial diversity on Florida state courts is part of Gov. Scott’s legacy and has led to demands for reforming how judges are chosen.
October 19, 2018 -
A new ad from Republican Justice Barbara Jackson raises ethical questions due to its partisan tone and stoking of conservative voters' fears about immigrants. Jackson has also shared alt-right followers' tweets and raised First Amendment concerns by blocking a Twitter follower for pointing out that she was retweeting a racist account.
May 18, 2018 -
An Arkansas judge blocked an election ad by the conservative Judicial Crisis Network attacking a state Supreme Court judge, citing libel concerns. If the group, which spends millions to influence state and federal courts, appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, its spending would present an ethical dilemma for Justice Neil Gorsuch.
January 24, 2019 -
Legislators in Kentucky and West Virginia are discussing constitutional amendments to give governors unprecedented control over choosing judges, who are currently elected. The moves are part of a broader trend of Republican politicians asserting more control over the judiciary.
August 2, 2018 -
State supreme court seats across the South are up for grabs this year, and contributions are pouring into partisan races. What does the research tell us about the effects of big-money politics on the judiciary?
February 15, 2019 -
Groups funded by Big Oil and other special interests are reviving a scheme — refined by a Koch brothers associate in the 1990s — to evaluate judges in Louisiana and Mississippi based on whether they rule in favor of corporations. It's the latest effort to stack the judiciary.
August 17, 2018 -
The entire West Virginia Supreme Court — already in the crosshairs of corporate special interests — was recently impeached by the Republican-controlled state House for overspending, lavish renovations, and, in the case of one justice, criminal corruption charges. But Democrats see what's happening as a GOP power grab that comes amid a broader trend of conservative attacks on the judiciary.
October 11, 2018 -
The same secret-money group that pushed the U.S Senate to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh is dominating spending in judicial elections in Arkansas and elsewhere in the South. In some states, justices are looking to be re-elected with the help of campaign cash from corporations and law firms that have business before the courts.
February 21, 2019 -
Cheri Beasley will soon be sworn in as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, becoming the first black woman to lead the court. She brings much-needed diversity to the South's appellate courts, which are overwhelmingly white and male.
October 18, 2018 -
As Republicans in Florida and West Virginia were about to replace most of the members of their supreme courts, the courts asserted their independence and blocked the partisan moves. But North Carolina's high court still faces the threat of a GOP takeover plan.
September 12, 2018 -
Corporate-backed supporters of the tort reform amendment, as well as its opponents, are gearing up to spend millions to influence voters' decision in November. But a state court recently struck down the amendment and ordered officials not to count the votes.
March 29, 2019 -
Governors in Florida and North Carolina recently appointed Jewish justices to their state supreme courts — a first for North Carolina. Studies have shown that Jewish judges, as well as those who belong to other religious minorities, tend to rule in favor of religious freedom.
June 6, 2019 -
North Carolina's courts have been in the crosshairs of the Republican-controlled legislature for years, with bills introduced to gerrymander judges, pack the bench, and manipulate judicial elections. But last week, lawmakers quickly restored a controversial cut to the chief justice's budget, suggesting the era of GOP judicial power grabs may be over.