this story today publicizing a recent report from the Brennan Center, the Justice at Stake Campaign, and the National Institute for Money in State Politics on the horrors of state judicial elections.
"The new study shows that total spending in state Supreme Court contests has rocketed from less than $6 million at the start of the 1990s to more than $45 million during the 2008 election cycle. Much of the activity is focused in a handful of states with open elections for their high courts, including Alabama, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Texas, the data show.
The spending is driven in part by outside interest groups on the right, such as the Chamber of Commerce and its affiliates, and on the left, including unions and trial attorneys."
On the other side of the issue, Chris Bonneau and Melinda Gann Hall, authors of "In Defense of Judicial Elections" share their thoughts here.