Special Interests Tip the Scales of Justice in Favor of Corporations
Americans are rightly concerned about significant sums of corporate campaign cash capturing their elected representatives. Even more troubling, though less reported, is the flood of campaign money that has poured into elections for state court justices over the last two decades. Judges are supposed to be independent, fair arbiters of justice. In the Citizens United era, however, judges will increasingly face a choice between siding with the law, or siding with special interests that can spend unlimited sums on their re-elections.
In just the last 12 years, state supreme courts have seen exponentially expensive races, with candidates raising nearly $250 million. The states which have seen the most judicial campaign money – Alabama, Texas, Michigan, Ohio – now have high courts dominated by judges funded by corporate interests. When pro-corporate judges control the bench, individuals suing corporations face higher hurdles. In a recent Center for American Progress report, we examined cases at these courts from 1992-2010, to get a sense of how the law changed after elections for the courts were flooded with special interest money.
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Deputy Director, Legal Progress
Director, Legal Progress