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Home / David Ziemer / Judicial election study is flawed

Judicial election study is flawed


Apparently, the Louisiana Supreme Court is not on the take.

For the past year or so, bashing judicial elections has been big business for the folks at the Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee and the Brennan Center for Justice. Exhibit A in their tirades against elections has been a law review article published earlier this year, Palmer & Levindis, “The Louisiana Supreme Court in Question: An Empirical and Statistical Study of the Effects of Campaign Money on the Judicial Function,” 82 Tul.L.Rev. 1291 (2008).

The thesis of this study is that the Louisiana Supreme Court justices vote based on whether the attorneys arguing in front of them give them campaign contributions at election time.

It turns out the study is wrong, and the dean of the law school at Tulane has had to publicly apologize to the justices.

I’m sure the demands for scrapping judicial elections in Wisconsin are not going to go away. But, at least, the proponents of “merit selection” will have to find some new arguments to support their case, and will no longer be able to rely on this faulty “empirical” evidence.


  1. “Yet with all the mistakes now corrected, he said, the study’s conclusions, broadly speaking, are the same.” That doesn’t sound like “the study is wrong.”

  2. these people have an agenda. i’m sure they will massage whatever data they are forced to accept to fit into their pre-arrived conclusions. still, all it took was a couple of provincial attorneys in louisiana to expose these frauds. i have faith that their revised broad conclusions will turn out to be false as well.

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