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Politics & Government

PA Breaks Illinois Record For Costliest Supreme Court Election

Matt Slocum
AP Photo

  This year’s race for three open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has just broken a national record.

Total campaign spending has reached $15.8 million, according to advocacy groups. That figure breaks the record held by Illinois for its two-way Supreme Court race in 2004.

For its new title, Pennsylvania can thank an unprecedented number of open Supreme Court seats as well as several groups that care about how the high court handles cases involving them.

“There’s tons of money fueling these campaigns,” said Lynn Marks with reform group Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. The organization opposes the Pennsylvania’s partisan election process for appellate court judges.

“The groups that by and large fund judicial races are groups that have stake in outcomes of cases -- trial lawyers or unions or business or political parties or other kind of interest groups,” Marks said.

The new national spending record was flagged by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and Justice at Stake, a nonpartisan group that tracks spending in judicial elections.

Pennsylvania’s $15.8 million spending tally is expected to grow as additional campaign finance records are filed. 

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