The Judicial Division presents

Dark Money in Judicial Elections

A Three-Part Series

Non-CLE Recording for Judicial Division members

Part I: The Growing Influence of Dark Money in the Judicial Selection Process

Moderator:  Professor Stephan Landsman, DePaul College of Law, Chicago, IL

Panelists:     Robert Clifford, Esq., Chicago, IL
                        Laurence Pulgram, Esq., San Francisco, CA
                        Professor Abby Wood, USC Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, CA

This portion of the program will focus on (1) the rise of “dark money” funding of media campaigns to influence state and federal judicial selection processes; (2) recent efforts to combat the influence of outside political ads, including administrative rules relating to transparency of donors, the landmark $250 million settlement in Hale v. State Farm and proposed federal legislation on judicial ads; and (3) the role of the organized bar in confronting misinformation about judicial candidates.  

Part II: Maintaining Public Confidence in the Courts in the Age of Dark Money

Moderator:  Carolyn A. Dubay, North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission, Raleigh, NC

Panelists:     The Honorable Virginia Kendall, U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois
                        The Honorable Louis Butler, former Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
                        Professor Tom Tyler, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT

This portion of the program will focus on the psychological and ethical perspectives of dark money ads in judicial selection processes, including (1) the erosion of public confidence in the impartiality and independence of the courts, (2) implications for disqualification and recusal, and (3) how judges can ethically combat disinformation campaigns funded with outside money through public statements, civic engagement and other strategies.    

Part III: Combatting Dark Money Influence: Procedural Strategies and Innovations

Moderator:  The Honorable Michelle Childs, U.S. District Court, D. South Carolina

Panelists:     Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, UC Berkeley School of Law
                        Professor Stephen Saltzburg, George Washington University School of Law
                        Professor Charles Silver, University of Texas School of Law
                        Paula Frederick, General Counsel, State Bar of Georgia

This portion of the program will focus on procedural strategies and innovative approaches to combatting the damaging effect of dark money influence on the perceived fairness of federal and state judicial proceedings.   The discussion will focus on possible procedural rule changes, disciplinary actions, changes to existing rules for recusal, revisions to rules relating to amicus briefs, and use of the contempt power against parties attempting to influence judicial outcomes through dark money ads.

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