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Alabama: 2008 likely to be expensive for supreme court candidates

The Birmingham News reports: Next year's race to replace retiring state Supreme Court Justice Harold See is one of five judicial elections nationwide that merit close scrutiny, the watchdog group Justice at Stake said.

Expect the kind of no-holds-barred battle between business and plaintiff trial lawyer interests that have helped Alabama set the standard for expensive and nasty elections, said the Washington-based group that monitors judicial elections. ...

Justice at Stake officials also expect a big battle for the seat being vacated by See, whose court race in 1996 gained national notoriety for an opponent's campaign ad that compared See to a skunk.

"The state's partisan system of judicial elections, combined with an absence of both campaign contribution limits and disclosure rules for special interests, suggest a raucous campaign for Justice See's seat," said a Justice at Stake news release.

In 2006, when five seats were contested, Alabama's Supreme Court elections attracted $12.4 million, more than in any other state. The $7.7 million race that year for chief justice was the second-most expensive judicial election in the nation's history. -- Watchdog group eyes Alabama- al.com

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