Tue Oct 16, 2012, 08:26 AM
xchrom (106,480 posts)
Justice to the Highest Bidder by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
In sports we choose sides – our team against your team – but we want the referees to be skilled and impartial. We expect the same from the judges in our courtrooms, too. How much faith could any of us have in a judge who’s taken cash from either litigant in a trial – or who owes his position on the bench to a partisan clique manipulating votes? Yet 38 states elect their high court judges and large sums of money -- much of it from secret donors -- are pouring into many of those judicial races.
An August study from the liberal Center for American Progress reports, "In state courts across our country, corporate special interests are donating money to the campaigns of judges who interpret the law in a manner that benefits their contributors rather than citizens seeking justice...
"Fueled by money from corporate interests and lobbyists, spending on judicial campaigns has exploded in the last two decades. In 1990 candidates for state supreme courts only raised around $3 million, but by the mid-1990s, campaigns were raking in more than five times that amount, fueled by extremely costly races in Alabama and Texas. The 2000 race saw high-court candidates raise more than $45 million."
Ninety-five percent America’s legal disputes are settled in state courts. The Center for American Progress Report, authored by Billy Corriher, studied 403 cases in six states, between 1992 and 2010 in which individuals sued corporations. The states – Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Michigan – received the most judicial campaign cash during that same period. In those cases, "courts ruled in favor of corporations 71 percent of the time."
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