State Judicial Elections and Environmental Law: Case Studies of Montana, North Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin

Source: John D. Echeverria, Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 19-14, October 12, 2014

From the abstract:
This paper presents case studies of the judicial electoral process and its implications for environmental legal protections in four states: Montana, North Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin. The paper builds on prior scholarship on judicial elections and on the efforts of special interests to secure the election or defeat of candidates for judicial office. It attempts to determine whether successful efforts to change the personnel sitting on specific state courts have, in fact, influenced subsequent rulings by these courts in environmental law cases. The paper concludes that the ideological orientation of a majority of the judges on a state’s highest court has a powerful influence on the court’s rulings in environmental law cases. In each of the four states studied, the outcomes of recent elections have had a demonstrable effect on the outcomes of subsequent environmental law cases.