We just saw the influence of prejudice and lack of information in a race for the Washington State Supreme Court, in which the unqualified Bruce Danielson won 29 of the state's 39 counties over the highly qualified Justice Steve Gonzalez. And Gonzalez did win but only after outspending him $300,000 to nuthin'. In other states, the problem is big money. The NYT's ed board today:

In six states where spending has been especially heavy โ€” Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas โ€” the harm to justice is well documented. A new report by the Center for American Progress has shown that in those states, impartiality appears diminished. It noted, โ€œThe high courts that have seen the most campaign spending are much more likely to rule in favor of big businesses and against individuals who have been injured, scammed, or subjected to discrimination.โ€

The center found that in 403 cases between 2000 and 2010, the courts in those states ruled in favor of corporations 71 percent of the time, notably more often than the odds would predict.

Let's not be daft. Anyone who says that appointing judges will cleanse state judiciaries of underqualified candidates or partisanship is fucking with youโ€”no system can do that.

But at least it would pressure governors to choose a justice, based on merit, who's not unqualified, allow legislatures to vet the candidate, provide the media a chance to lambaste a governor who makes a sloppy appointment, and remove direct financial influence on elections that most poeple are too stupid or busy to understand.