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Spring 2009 - Supreme Court Election


On March 18th, 2009, the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review hosted its Symposium:

Supreme Court Election Campaigns:

A Threat to Fair and Impartial Courts?

The current national trend of increasingly expensive and politicized state supreme court election campaigns was most recently escalated in the 2008 judicial elections nationally and in the Michigan Supreme Court election in particular.  Now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court is the case ofCaperton v. Massey Coal Company which has emerged as a landmark case over the spiraling role of special-interest spending in judicial elections.  The case raises critical questions of due process and recusal.  Many, including former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, are concerned about the large amounts of money now going into judicial elections and the anonymous nature of the spending.  They ask whether justice is now "for sale".  The distinguished speakers explored the campaign finance facts of recent Michigan Supreme Court election campaigns, the legal theory and implications of the Caperton case, the concerns of many in the business community on the present role of money in judicial campaigns, and the public financing alternative for state supreme court election campaigns. 

We were pleased to host the following speakers at Thomas M. Cooley Law School:

  • Michael J. Petro, Vice President of the Committee for Economic Development
  • Rich Robinson, Executive Director, Michigan Campaign Finance Network
  • James Sample, Counsel, The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
  • The Honorable James A. Wynn, Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals