worth, and accordingly, they protect those people they identify with -- those who have helped them get elected.” Petty claims that, during the past six years, “the court [has] almost uniformly decided every case in favor of big business or insurance companies.” Moreover, it has “eroded the people’s rights” by severely restricting the ability of plaintiffs to conduct discovery of corporate records and depose business executives. Michele Petty, Scales of Justice Tip toward Big Business, San Antonio Express-News, October 31, 2000.
26. Article reports on the “skyrocketing” level of campaign contributions in state judicial elections. “Trial lawyers have long been major financial donors to judicial candidates, and labor unions have also given generously for years. In a new twist, business groups, heretofore relatively minor players in judicial campaigns, massively racheted up their giving in this last election cycle, spending millions on attack ads to discredit judicial candidates deemed to have an anti-business bias.” Anthony Champagne, professor of government and politics at the University of Texas at Dallas asserts: “These contributions are not really buying on outcomes particular cases. But they are buying a judicial philosophy on the bench. Battling over judicial elections is just another way of accomplishing your objectives as an interest group.” The article also notes: “This weekend, Texas Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips will host a national summit [in Chicago] of judges and legislators fro! m 15 states to find a way to stop the politicization of the courts.” Michael Scherer, Courting Big Money, Mother Jones Newswire, December 6, 2000.
Article reports that “the 2000 judicial campaigns featured the nastiest, most injudicious rhetoric in memory.” Considering the reasons why interest groups have only recently become involved with judicial elections, Abner Mikva, former chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, opines: “They didn’t know how to do it. It wasn’t until the Texas elections ten years ago that special interests realized they could influence the judicial system through campaign contributions. . . . These campaigns are a portent of things to come. It bodes very badly for the future of judicial independence.” Paul Braverman, Judicial Smackdown!, American Lawyer, December 12, 2000.
Editorial calls for greater investment in increasing public education for Texas judicial elections. It asserts: “lack of voter education is one factor in our belief that Texas should adopt an appointive system for selecting judges” but “if Texans . . . want to continue electing judges, then a public expenditure to make sure that voters have adequate information . . . is a small price to pay.” It finds particular promise in voter guides, available in both print-form and online. Fort Worth (Tx.) Star-Telegram, Judicious Voting, January 31, 2001.
29. Column asserts that the reprimand given by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to Judge Tom Price, of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, highlights