Judges for Sale

Last month, a New York Times investigation revealed that Ohio Supreme Court justices "routinely sat on cases after receiving campaign contributions from the parties involved or from groups that filed supporting briefs. On average, they voted in favor of contributors 70 percent of the time." This week, a story by Salon.com and the Center for Investigative Reporting lays out the bribery mill involved in the appointment of federal judges. The article reveals that Senators George Voinovich and Mike DeWine both took campaign contributions from judges they recommended for federal posts. DeWine later returned the dough, but Voinovich was unabashed about accepting it. Christopher Boyko, a district judge who gave Voinovich $2,000 less than a month after he was nominated for the job, feigned horror at the idea that his cash was a thank-you gift for the senator. "If you believe for a minute that $240, $2,000 or $25,000 'buys' a federal judgeship, as you clearly intimate . . . your naivete astounds me. Any such insinuations are a blatant insult to both Senators, denigrating their integrity and character. No one 'buys' either Senator DeWine or Senator Voinovich -- period," Boyko said in a statement to Salon. Well, that settles it. Next time someone tells us our elected officials can be bought with cash, free golf trips, or poker chips, we'll know it's, like, totally untrue. -- Lisa Rab

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