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Buying the bench with key contributions?

In a series by Salon.com and the Center for Investigative Reporting, Will Evans exposes a money trail that leads from the pockets of judges to coffers of prominent Republicans - including the President. "At least two dozen federal judges appointed by President Bush since 2001 made political contributions to key Republicans or to the president himself while under consideration for their judgeships, government records show." While not illegal, these contributions are ethically questionable due to their potential influence on lifetime appointments to federal courts. "[T]here must be a balance, some ethics scholars and judges say, between that right and the responsibility of those seeking a judicial post to appear impartial. With the judiciary drawing increasing scrutiny and criticism in recent times, the American Bar Association is overhauling its judicial code of conduct to set new recommended ethical guidelines. The draft of the new code, to be voted on this February, would forbid political contributions by judicial candidates."

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