American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review - Volume 55


Used by permission.


Imagine this scenario: A state trial judge is running for re-election in a mid-sized U.S. community. He/she receives campaign contributions from a local construction company. A case arises before the judge in which the construction company is accused of negligent safety practices causing worker injuries. A motion to dismiss is pending regarding whether the construction company has a duty to protect the workers on the job. Imagine another scenario: A lawyer applies for an appointed judge position. He/she gets the judgeship by being appointed by a Governor who is the same political party as the new judge. Subsequently, the State is sued for not increasing its budget for child welfare—something the Governor, and the new judge’s political party, have always opposed. The new judge is faced with a motion for summary judgment from the State claiming the Governor has sole discretion to decide the budget.