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Corporate Takeover of State Supreme Courts

Corporate Takeover of State Supreme Courts

As an American, do you deserve the right to a fair trial? The answer is obvious—yes, you do—but that is no longer what you’re getting. This issue exists because, at the state level, corporate donors are tipping the American court system in their favor.

The Center for American Progress published a report in 2011[1], which reveals many people are beginning to realize how big a problem this is.  Americans do not have the financial platform to elect judges who will protect their rights. On the other hand, large businesses do have the money to pour staggering amounts of money into electing judges that favor their interests. The aim of corporate donors is to elect judges that will limit consumer rights and build walls around their wealth. It’s not about buying a specific case but electing judges who will generally support the big business over the deserving individual. E.g. reducing jury awards, throwing-out punitive damage claims, finding a complaint is inadequately plead, etc.

The report provides figures that show how corporate interest groups that prefer a certain outcome have donated money to judges, and those judges have then interpreted the law in a way that achieves their corporate donors’ preferred outcome. The following six states were used to compose the report’s illustrations: Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan.

In the United States 95 percent of legal arguments are settled in state courts and those customers and employees that have been wronged or injured at work are likely to seek justice in state court.

The Center for American Progress worded it wisely when it stated: “This trend (donations by corporate interest groups) is threatening a fundamental aspect of our democracy: the right of Americans to a fair trial. When judges operate like politicians, those who lack political influence cannot expect fairness.” With the court takeover of judges backed by big businesses, are there any establishments remaining that will accuse powerful corporations of their fraudulent actions?

Do you think that companies and people should be able to give unlimited sums of money to candidates, including judicial candidates?  If so, why?  Do you think that if there are no limitations on how much a person or company can contribute to a judicial candidate that businesses will control the courts?  If not, why not?  If so why?

Assuming a jury is instructed to award only the amount of money to compensate for damages the defendant causes, do you think there should be limits of how much a jury can award someone if the law is the jury?  If so why?  If not why not?

We care about what you think.  Please tell us your thoughts by posting your comments, opinions and experiences.  We are actively growing our community and by sharing your concerns you can help others with your involvement.  Thank you, Stu.




[1] Big Business Taking over State Supreme Court’s- How Campaign Contributions to Judges Tip the Scales Against Individuals; Billy Corriher August 2012 Published by the Center for American Progress

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