Karl Rove had a horrible, Grinchy, ugly idea. Supreme court judges are prohibited from spending more than $5,000 to run for re-election in some states. Why not outspend them and get rid of “liberal” judges?
John Grisham wrote a book on just how it could happen. It was fiction and being a fan, when I read it, it was a scary prospect, IF it could really happen.
In real life, could a well-financed shadowy, group, get an ordinary judge, one who made decisions for people suing for redress from corporate neglect, be replaced by a corporate leaning judge? They began their push in the Southern States of Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas which is how they caught the attention of John Grisham.
Grisham appeared on LINK public television, along with members of Public Citizen and explained that it is happening all over the United States. The Chamber of Commerce funds these power grabs, attacking judges who make decisions in favor of ordinary people and replaces them on the bench with corporate friendly judges.
Here is how they did they did it to Judge Oliver Diaz of Oklahoma.
The Chamber spent $19 million dollars distorting his reputation, using decisions he made for a defendant, and dishonestly twisting the results in the newspaper. When Diaz tried to buy ad time on television in his area, the Chamber used all the ad time and squeezed him out. He borrowed money from an attorney friend, Paul Minier, to defend himself with ads in the newspapers. The Chamber of Horrors immediately filed suit against him claiming that he made decisions in favor of this attorney. He was suspended from the bench. But, he had recused himself every time his friend came before his court. The case got thrown out after the opposition pulled delay after delay after delay. Then they filed suit against him for tax evasion while he was still in suspension. Again, delay, after delay and the phony suit was thrown out, costing the judge a million in defense, and three years off the bench. When he finally got back on the bench, he lost re-election to Keith Starret because people believe, where there is smoke there is fire. There MUST have been something shady going on.
There was. The Chamber of Horrors.
Chamber CEO Richard Bush has turned the Chamber of Commerce into the leading lobbying group for removal of judges and tort reform, which is another avenue of attack on ordinary citizens in favor of corporate rule. (More about that tomorrow.)
If a defendant has his leg cut off by a piece of farm machinery that was defective and goes for a jury trial and wins in court. The court has the power to reverse the decision, lower the amount, or throw it out and the defendant has to start over again. Corporations win over 90% of the time against people suing for redress. This is the only weapon the people have against corporate neglect and we are losing our ability to fight because corporate money is strangling the life out of our democracy.
Make your vote count. Vote for corporate regulation and protect judges in your community. Support every measure you can to keep money out of politics.