Ordering the Courts: Right Wing Attacks on Judicial Independence in 2000

Right Wing Targets State Courts

Far from the spotlight shone by the media on the battles between the White House and the Senate battles over federal judicial appointments in 2000, numerous right-wing groups found another way to achieve their desired goals: influencing state judicial elections and appointments. Spurred by particular court decisions they disliked, right-wing organizations have begun to focus more attention and resources on the state arena and have attempted to influence the makeup of several state benches in several significant ways.

Impeachment calls, campaign donations, attack ads and push polls were just a few of the tactics right-wing groups employed at the state level in a way that threatened to undermine the independent judiciary. Described below is a range of incidents in eight states where right-wing activity was particularly vigorous in 2000. Although this report does not catalogue all such efforts, it surveys significant activity at the state level during the year 2000, as well as the potential for similar activity in 2001-2002.

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