Oliver Diaz speaks against corporate influence in judge elections

Speaking at a August 13 panel on corporate spending in judicial elections, Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr. warned that the growth of corporate interest spending is hurting public confidence in the courts, scaring lawyers away from seeking judgeships and raising the specter of corruption.

Nelson and Diaz spoke as part of an event in Washington in which two new studies by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, were released on campaign contributions in state judicial elections.

Diaz disputed the line of thinking that an appointed judiciary is always better than an elected judiciary – appointments can be political, he said – but noted that too many people inside and outside of the courts believe that campaign dollars influence judicial outcomes. “That’s a sad state of affairs,” he said.

Corporate Counsel