The North Carolina Judicial Coalition is a new tax-exempt organization, known as a super PAC, supported by wealthy conservative Republicans who are determined to make this year’s race for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court ideological and expensive. This kind of influence in judicial elections is a direct result of the Citizens United decision, which allows corporations and unions to make unlimited so-called independent expenditures in campaigns. In a dissent in that case, Justice John Paul Stevens predicted that such spending would overwhelm state court races, which would be especially harmful since judges must not only be independent but be seen to be independent as well. North Carolina is proving him right.
A Federal District Court in North Carolina last month, citing a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that rests on Citizens United, struck down a state law that provided additional matching funds to judicial candidates who accepted public campaign money if they faced greater spending from privately financed opponents, including independent expenditures. By the Supreme Court’s upside-down logic, matching funds violate the free-speech rights of independent groups because their spending triggers additional money for a publicly financed candidate.
Full Article: North Carolina, Meet Citizens United – NYTimes.com.