As unavoidable as it is, money in politics can be dangerous. Now, two Supreme Court Justices (one current, one former) are pushing for regulation on campaign contributions for state judicial races.

In the past decade, candidates for state judgeships raised more than $206 million, more than double the $83 million judges raised in the 1990s, according to the soon-to-be released study by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and Justice at Stake, two non partisan groups that advocate for reforming the judicial selection process.

Three of the last five state Supreme Court election cycles topped $45 million. And judges shattered fundraising records in all but two of the 21 states with contested Supreme Court elections in the last ten years, the report found.

O’Connor told a group of Georgetown Law students last month, has become “a threat to judicial independence.”

“If both sides unleash their campaign spending without restrictions,” O’Connor said, it will “erode the impartiality of the judiciary.”

More expensive battles are coming. Thirty eight state court justices will be on state ballots this year, and in many of the races, the fundraising has already begun.

Last week, on the same day Ginsburg was calling for reform, top Alabama appellate lawyers were flowing into the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown Birmingham for a reception honoring Alabama Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Bolin, according to an invitation to the event. The requested contribution was $250.

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