Magazine article The American Prospect

Public Order in the Courts. (Networks)

Magazine article The American Prospect

Public Order in the Courts. (Networks)

Article excerpt

AS THE LEGAL BATTLE OVER MCCAIN-Feingold heated up in Washington, the push for public financing of campaigns inched forward at the state level when, on Oct. 10, North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley signed into law the Judicial Campaign Reform Act. Although it's modeled after the "clean-money" systems in place for legislative races in Arizona and Maine, it's the first in the United States to address judicial elections by offering candidates running for the state Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals the ability to get out of the big-money chase and tap into a reserve of public dollars. The law is the result of wise strategic decisions on behalf of North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections, a coalition of more than 30 statewide organizations. Back in 1997, the group helped introduce a bill that proposed an overhaul of the state's legislative elections. But, according to Bob Hall of Democracy South, a regional network of state-based organizations in the Southeast, despite the fact that many legislators supported the idea of public financing, they preferred that it didn't start with their campaigns. As such, the measure never went far. …

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