I saw this today on the Brennan Center’s web site. If corporations (you know, those things that are people, too) can buy judges, what will be left of our trust in government?
Report Finds Big Business Influence in Some State Supreme Courts
Earlier this month, the Center for American Progress released a report which finds that big business interests are disproportionately influencing state high courts. Billy Corriher, the author of the report, looked at the “the six state supreme courts that had seen the most campaign cash between 1992 and 2011,” they found that “five of the six…exhibited a tendency to vote more often for corporations and against injured plaintiffs.” In addition, “[t]he justices with the highest rate of votes for corporations benefited from campaign contributions from corporations and/or groups funded by corporations or secret donors.” Corriher highlights that “[w]hile there is no way to prove that judges are unduly influenced by campaign contributions, the appearance of bias can be just as damaging to the public’s perception of judicial independence as actual bias.” The author suggests that “[t]hose concerned about corporate campaign cash flooding courts should advocate for public financing” and that “[j]udges themselves can help by implementing tougher ethics rules that require judges to sit out cases involving campaign contributors.” He also suggests that “[j]udges should no longer be subjected to elections because the process inherently creates doubt about their impartiality.”