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Is George Soros Trying To Stack the Courts?

06/27/11 – - Billionaire George Soros spends tens of millions each year supporting a range of liberal social and political causes, from drug legalization to immigration reform to gay marriage to abolishing the death penalty.

But a less well-known Soros priority — replacing elections for judges with selection-by-committee — now has critics accusing him of trying to stack the courts.

Most non-federal judges around the country are selected by voters in elections. But some states use a process called “merit selection” in which a committee – often made up of lawyers – appoints judges to the bench instead.

Soros has spent several million dollars in the past decade in an attempt to get more states to scrap elections and adopt the merit method. Supporters say it would allow judges to focus on interpreting the law rather than on raising campaign funds and winning elections.

“Merit selection would end the money race and get judges out of the fundraising business,” Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts — a group that has received money from Soros’ Open Society Institute — told

But critics say that if judges are picked by committee — often, a committee of lawyers — that will give left-wing judges the upper hand.

“The left can’t get their agenda through the legislatures anymore … so they think they can get their agenda through by taking over the courts,” attorney Colleen Pero, author of a new report titled “Hijacking Justice,” told

Pero’s report found that Soros, through his Open Society Institute fund, has given $45 million over the last decade to “a campaign to reshape the judiciary.” But that number is hotly contested by Justice at Stake, the group that got the most Soros money.
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