Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
The issue of big-spending judicial races has become important enough to get the attention of John Grisham -- and Alabama state Rep. Chris England, who is introducing legislation to cap donations to candidates for the bench, the Tuscaloosa News reports:
"The perception is that money buys justice," England, D-Tuscaloosa, said Friday.
England introduced a bill to limit contributions in judicial races to $500 per race or $1,500 if there is a primary, a runoff, and then the general election. He pointed to the cost of the 2006 appellate court races as a reason.
Two years ago, 15 candidates spent $13.4 million, making the races in Alabama the most expensive in the nation. The second most expensive races were in Texas, where $3.5 million was spent.
His bill is scheduled for a committee hearing on March 5.
(The photograph shows John England Jr., Rep. England's father, who is a circuit court judge and former Alabama Supreme Court justice.)
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