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Democratic Institutions

In the American system of justice, judges are expected to perform their role apart from the "political thicket," free of political pressure and indifferent to public opinion. Yet today, in most states, this basic requisite of independent and impartial administration of the rule of law is imperiled. Where judges hold or retain office by election, the independence of the judiciary is at risk.

An alarming number of judicial elections have become politically charged and divisive contests, characterized by increasingly large campaign expenditures and interest group electioneering. This rising flow of campaign contributions into judicial elections is severely damaging our judicial system. The experience of recent elections and the prospects ahead demonstrate the urgent need for fundamental reform.

"This crisis of confidence in the judiciary is real and growing. Left unaddressed, the perception that justice is for sale will undermine the rule of law that the courts are supposed to uphold." - Sandra Day O'Connor, Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice

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