Justice for Sale? Campaign Contributions and Judicial Decision Making

36 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2007  

Damon M. Cann

Utah State University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 10, 2006

Abstract

While federal judges are selected by appointment, many state judges are selected through competitive elections. As state judicial campaigns become progressively more costly and political, judicial candidates have turned increasingly to lawyers and law firms as a source of campaign funds. Given that contributing lawyers frequently appear in court, it is natural to wonder whether judges are more likely to rule in favor of attorneys who offered financial support to their campaign. Looking at cases from the Supreme Court of Georgia's 2003 term, I show that campaign contributions are indeed correlated with judges' decisions. Further, using a two-stage probit least squares estimator to address questions of causality, I show that the campaign contributions directly affect judicial decision making.

Keywords: State Supreme Courts, Campaign Contributions, quid pro quo, judicial elections

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Cann, Damon M., Justice for Sale? Campaign Contributions and Judicial Decision Making (August 10, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=991364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.991364

Damon M. Cann (Contact Author)

Utah State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

0725 University Blvd.
Logan, UT 84322-0725
United States

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