Brennan Center steps up for Loughry
Chris Dickerson Jul. 31, 2012, 10:58am
CHARLESTON -- The Brennan Center has gone to bat for a Republican state Supreme Court candidate in his legal battle over public financing.
On Monday, the Brennan Center filed suit in the state Supreme Court on behalf of Allen Loughry, the lone candidate for the Court who qualified for the public financing option. The suit seeks to compel officials to comply with the state pilot financing program for this year's Supreme Court election.
Loughry is represented by the Brennan Center and Huntington attorney Marc Williams from the firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.
"West Virginia's public financing program for judicial elections is a critical response to the risks associated with skyrocketing spending in judicial election campaigns," said Adam Skaggs, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center. "Because judicial candidates can finance their campaigns with public funds, they don't have to dial for dollars from the very lawyers and parties who may appear before them in court," Skaggs continued."
Another Brennan Center attorney said the U.S. Supreme Court "has recognized that protecting unbiased and independent courts is an interest of the very highest order."
"West Virginia's pilot program is an appropriate method to bolster public trust in the judiciary's independence and impartiality, and we are glad to work with Mr. Loughry to defend this important law," Matthew Menendez said.
After qualifying for public financing, Loughry was given an initial disbursement of $350,000 for his general election campaign. The law dictates that Loughry is entitled to receive additional funds if any non-participating candidate surpasses a certain spending threshold during the general election season.
After current Justice Robin Davis hit certain spending marks, Loughry says he is eligible for at least $145,000 in additional funds, but the State Election Commission has failed to release the funding. Loughry asked the state Supreme Court to order state election officials to comply with their legal obligations and release the supplemental funds.
On Tuesday, Loughry's legal team also filed a motion to intervene in a separate lawsuit challenging the public financing law in federal court.
According to its website, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice.
Its "work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism." It bills itself as part think tank, part public interest law firm and part advocacy group.