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Voting & Elections 02.24.2024

San Francisco Chronicle/CalMatters: Why Does California Elect Local Judges?

That's concerning to Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of Common Cause California, an advocacy group that focuses on fair elections and representation: "Our judges are supposed to be above the fray of politics and totally unbiased in their decision-making," he wrote in an email. "Whether or not that's actually true, it certainly does not help public perception of the judiciary to force our judges to raise special interest dollars, make campaign promises, and so forth." He added that even very engaged voters struggle to find information on these contests.

ProPublica: The Judiciary Has Policed Itself for Decades. It Doesn’t Work.

Common Cause, a nonpartisan watchdog group, revealed that Thomas didn’t report that source of income on his financial disclosures, despite a legal requirement to do so. The New York Times also raised the possibility that Thomas may have flown on Crow’s jet at least three times. If Thomas had, in fact, taken those flights and Crow footed the bill, the justice failed to disclose that, too. The conference told the lawmakers and Common Cause that the Financial Disclosure Committee would look into both issues. Early in 2012, the committee held a meeting. Some of the judges in attendance expected a serious conversation about how to handle the matter. If there is “reasonable cause” to believe a judge might have intentionally falsified a disclosure or omitted information, the conference, through the Financial Disclosure Committee, is supposed to refer the case to the attorney general. Instead, the committee’s chair, a Kentucky district judge and President Bill Clinton appointee named Joseph H. McKinley Jr., said immediately that he had decided to end the inquiry, explaining that Thomas already amended his filings to include Ginni’s source of income, according to one of the judges in the room.

Rolling Stone: The Dirty Tricks the GOP Is Using to Keep Abortion Off the Ballot in 2024

The landscape, meanwhile, is dramatically different in Democrat-controlled states. In Maryland, advocates have experienced virtually no resistance whatsoever, and say they are aware of no organized opposition. “We’re expecting a disinformation campaign,” says Joanne Antoine, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “But outside of that we’re not hearing anything at all.”

Los Alamos Daily Post: Officials And Organizations Express Condolences On Passing Of Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

Common Cause New Mexico State Director Heather Ferguson: “He was one of the strongest Governors New Mexico ever had. While he might be remembered more for his diplomacy and the economic advances he brought to New Mexico (the film industry, the Spaceport, the Rail Runner to name a few) we remember him for his 2007 Ethics Reform Task Force. It spurred so much legislation over the subsequent decades—a Gift Ban, Public Financing of the PRC and state judicial races, limits on campaign contributions and an ethics commission. He was a champion you wanted to have in your corner—with courage, deft negation skills and a fighting spirit. We will miss him.” Former Executive Director Viki Harrison of the New Mexico Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty & Founding Advisory Committee Members of Death Penalty Action: “Governor Richardson changed the course of history in New Mexico when he signed the bill to abolish the death penalty in March 2009. He became a champion of abolition and helped in many other places over the last decade. I lost a mentor and a friend and am devasted by this news – just messaged with him a couple of months ago. Sending much love to Barbara and the rest of the family.”

Washington Post: Justice Thomas details jet travel, property deal with billionaire

He described Crow as a “personal friend,” according to the disclosure form, one of several from the 1990s that is no longer publicly available but was provided to The Washington Post by watchdog organizations Common Cause and Documented.

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