Williams, Margaret S.; Ditslear, Corey A.
July 2007
Justice System Journal;2007, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p135
Academic Journal
A few states, including Wisconsin, attempted to curb the influence of money and politics on judicial decisions by including nonpartisan elections and public financing of campaigns in their system of judicial selection. Despite these reforms, we posit a relationship between the campaign contributions by attorneys to an individual judge and the vote of that individual judge over a ten-year period of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. We examine the effects of attorneys' contributions on votes in a number of areas of law. The data for this article, obtained from the National Institute for Money in Politics, include the donations by attorneys to the judges of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the decisions those judges made post-contributions. We find little evidence to support a systematic relationship between attorneys' campaign contributions and the votes of judges in Wisconsin. However, there is evidence to suggest that some individual judges may be influenced despite state efforts to curb the influence of money in politics.


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