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Report: Outside Spending Impacting Judicial Elections More

In an era of PACs and super-PACs, non-candidate spending is starting to play a larger role in judicial elections, a new report shows.

The report, by researchers at the Justice at Stake Campaign, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, examined spending in off-year state supreme court elections. It found that while candidates and special-interest groups spent less money overall in the 2010 elections than in the 2006 elections -- $38.4 million to $42.7 million -- non-candidate spending increased as a proportion -- 29.8 percent from about 18 percent. Outside groups also paid for three-fourths of negative campaign ads, according to the report.

The data, the authors warn, show "a coalescing national campaign that seeks to intimidate America's state judges into becoming accountable to money and ideologies instead of the Constitution and the law. In its full context, the most recent election cycle poses some of the graves threats yet to fair and impartial justice in America."

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