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April 30, 2024 Gavel Talks | Season 6 - Episode 8

Dark Money Attack Ads and Promoting Judicial Independence

Hosted by Hon. Richard Ginkowski, Pleasant Prairie, WI

While some state supreme court elections racked up tens of millions of dollars in outside spending and a slew of ugly television ads, local judicial elections, absent some particular local controversy, have been rather nondescript -- until now.  Host Richard Ginkowski is joined by Alicia Bannon, director of the Judiciary Program of the Brennan Center for Justice, to discuss five local judicial elections where Fair Courts America, an Illinois-based special interest group, waged a last-minute smear campaign against the incumbent judges which included ads and robo calls attacking them as "activist" judges and, in one instance, linking them to riots.  The campaign succeeded in four of the five races.  Why didn't it work in the fifth one and what can -- and should -- judges, lawyers, Bar associations and the Media do to protect judicial independence at the local courthouse?

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