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m8321 BC-MN-ChiefJustice-Elec 06-17 0241

Chief justice fears negative, expensive judicial elections

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DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric J. Magnuson says he favors a system of judges’ elections that would avoid manipulation by wealthy special interests.

Magnuson said Tuesday he believes Minnesota is at risk for negative and expensive elections for judges.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Minnesota’s restrictive rules on judicial campaigns, giving candidates the freedom to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, seek partisan endorsements and tell voters where they stand on issues.

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At the Minnesota State Bar Association’s annual meeting, Magnuson said it only takes one bad election to taint the public’s confidence in the judiciary.

He and a commission led by former Governor Al Quie back a system of "retention elections" in which voters decide whether to kick out existing judges or keep them. The governor would make the initial appointment.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

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