Carrie Severino: Fact-Checking Jeffrey Toobin and the Center for American Progress

August 16, 2012

NEW YORK, New York (The National Review) — Writing for The New Yorker a few days ago, in a piece titled “Judges for Sale,” Jeffrey Toobin complained about the “the grotesque spectacles that pass for judicial elections in states like Ohio, Michigan, Alabama, and (of course) Texas.” Toobin’s piece was inspired by an initiative just launched by the Center for American Progress (CAP). As part of that initiative, CAP published two papers. The first, “The Conservative Takeover of State Judiciaries,” focuses on ballot measures and legislative efforts to weaken or abolish the Missouri Plan. The second, “Big Business Taking over State Supreme Courts,” focuses on money in judicial elections. I guess the papers are supposed to convince readers that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is destroying the universe.

You won’t be surprised that I disagreed with almost everything the various authors had to say. But what might surprise you is that this major public-policy organization has published two papers with an enormous number of glaring factual errors, and that Jeff Toobin would simply regurgitate at least one of them. After noticing the first several factual errors, I decided to take a closer look, for the purpose of fact-checking, and realized that the papers are so full of mistakes that no serious reader could possibly rely on them. I have not had the time to fact-check every sentence, but below are some of the most obvious errors and false claims.

Click here to read the entire article on judicial selection. 
  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.