due 12 noon

Brief Synopsis of the Video Justice for Sale (Frontline, PBS)

In “Justice For Sale,” FRONTLINE correspondent Bill Moyers examines the impact of campaign cash on the judicial election process and explores the growing concern among judges themselves that campaign donations may be corrupting America’s courts. This documentary is nearly 20 years old, but it is just a relevant today as the events shown in the video. In fact, with the Citizens United Decision by the Supreme Court in 2010, many argue that money has become an even more corrupting influence in our election system.

“Justice for Sale” looks at judges’ races in three states– Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Texas–talking to judges, media consultants and special interest groups who are donating big money to judicial campaigns.

In Pennsylvania, the pro-business group Pennsylvnians for Effective Government (PEG) surveys the voting habits of state Supreme Court justices and funds those who share their philosophy.

Traveling to Louisiana, this FRONTLINE report investigates how in 1998 a business group financed a campaign against the sitting Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, whom they viewed as unsympathetic to industry’s concerns.

In Texas–which Moyers calls “the heavyweight in partisan, expensive, knock-down, drag-out brawls for control of a state Supreme Court”– FRONTLINE looks at how special interests and their fundraising has dramatically changed the make-up of the Texas Supreme Court.

Throughout this report, FRONTLINE tracks the mounting evidence that trust in judges and the courts is eroding because of the perception that campaign contributions to judges are affecting their decisions on the bench.

Link to the Video:

Essay Question:

Discuss the pros and cons of the methods Texas uses to elect its judges. What you do believe is the best way to select judges? Explain why your method would work best and give examples of the problems your solution would address.

I know students love word counts. I would say including all quotes and cited evidence, your essay should be approximately 1000 words.