The phones rang. The donations flowed. Former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb in 2006 won one of the most expensive judicial races in American history. Cobb, however, is no fan of the pricey system that got her to be the state’s top jurist. The high-dollar races that have judicial candidates dialing for dollars are tawdry, she said, and the donations that judicial candidates must solicit from law firms and businesses that appear in their courtroom are something akin to “legalized extortion.”
“To fully achieve the goal of having fair courts, there must be reform in how judges are selected,” Cobb said in an interview with The Associated Press
Cobb, who stepped down as chief justice in 2011, has become a national advocate for changing how judges are selected. At one time in history, judges were appointed by kings, Cobb said, and electing judges was seen as a way of letting people decide who would hear cases. “The money now has become the king,” Cobb said.
In her 2006 race for chief justice, Cobb initially set a goal of raising $2 million. She said it quickly became clear that more would be needed. She raised and spent $2.6 million. Her opponent, Republican Chief Justice Drayton Nabers raised and spent $5.5 million.
Full Article: Cobb compares pricey judicial races to legalized extortion.