- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
More evidence that we must change the system by which we select judges
On June 19, the DN reported that a “Common Pleas judge nominee spent 550G to win in primary.”
Michael Erdos, a prosecutor in the district attorney's office for the past 10 years, spent about $550,000 in his barely successful campaign to win a Democratic nomination for Common Pleas Court. The figure is thought to be an all-time record for the amount spent to win a local judicial nomination.
The other three judicial candidates who won Democratic nominations also relied on themselves and their families for most of their campaign money.
Alice Beck Dubow reported $303,243 in campaign expenses, Ellen Green-Ceisler spent $199,150 and Linda Carpenter, who had the luck to draw the top ballot position, spent about $130,000, according to their campaign-finance reports.
Candidate Beverly Muldrow, who ran fifth, 3,078 votes behind Erdos, reported $158,053 in campaign expenses, more than $150,000 of it her own money. .
There is something really wrong with this picture.
Granted all four of the successful candidates were very well-qualified. (Disclosure: Phila NOW supported Ellen Green Ceisler and Linda Carpenter, two of the winning candidates and Beverly Muldrow and Angeles Roca, two of the unsuccessful candidates for the Court of Common Pleas.) This was a particularly difficult election for voters as there were more well-qualified candidates than there were available slots.
Increasingly, judicial candidates appear to be financing their campaigns through their personal resources. This at least avoids the ethically dubious practice of raising money from trial lawyers, but limits the candidate pool to those who can draw on personal resources.
From my point of view, the good news is that 3 out of 4 of the wining candidates were women, but the bad news is that none of the winning candidates were women of color.
In a city in which the majority of citizens are members of racial/ethnic minorities how did we manage to elect only white candidates to the Court of Common Pleas?
Clearly we have the critical mass of African-American and Latina lawyers in this city to elect eminently well-qualified African-American and Latina judges. The candidates’ campaign finance reports provide us with at least a partial explanation of why this is not happening.
Now what do we do about this?