Watch John Oliver Tackle One Of the Biggest—And Least Talked About—Problems in US Politics

“When you have a system where judges are serenaded with banjos…you have a problem.”


On Sunday, HBO’s John Oliver took aim at one of American politics’ biggest—and least talked about—problems: judicial elections. As the Last Week Tonight host points out, putting judges in the position of soliciting campaign donations—often from people who may appear in their courtrooms—greatly reduces the appearance of impartiality (at best), and stacks the deck in favor of those with more money (at worst).

Mother Jones examined this issue in depth last fall, discovering that judges themselves aren’t all that thrilled that spending on judicial elections has more than doubled over the last two decades, with much of that growth in form of often unaccountable outside spending.