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Report: Attorneys who gave to Supreme Court Justices more likely to win case in high court

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Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A new report shows that attorneys are more likely to win their State Supreme Court cases if they've given campaign money to the justices. 

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism found that 59-percent of attorneys win their cases, if they donate to the justices before their rulings come down. 

The center reviewed campaign contributions and the court's decisions over the 11 years ending in June. 

The figures showed that attorneys whose cases reach the Supreme Court donated $210,000 to all justices from 2002-through-this year.  The main recipient by far is Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, whose campaign took in $188,000 during the 11-year period. 

The Investigative center found that those who donated $1,500 or more to Abrahamson's campaign won their cases 71-percent of the time -- while all of her contributors had an average winning rate of 58-percent. 

Adam Skaggs of the Brennan Center for Justice says the vast majority of judges are not influenced by campaign money -- but the public often believes there's undue influence. 

Right now, justices make their own decisions as to whether they should withdraw from cases due to possible conflicts-of-interest. 

Abrahamson has proposed that an outside panel decide when justices should withdraw -- something the court's conservative majority has opposed.

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