Business lobby targets Madison County judges

Belleville News-Democrat
Sunday, October 5, 2003

American corporations reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars and hired more than 400 lobbyists to push the Class Action Fairness Act through Congress.

Big corporations also are spending large sums in a campaign receiving far
less attention. Its goal: to unseat state court judges and attorney generals
viewed as being pro-plaintiff and anti-business.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents the nation's biggest
companies, spent $100 million on this effort between 2000 and 2002. And the chamber plans to spend another $50 million on it between now and 2004, Forbes magazine reported.

The chamber has earmarked at least $2 million for judicial races in Southern Illinois. The most important of these will occur in November 2004, when Southern Illinois voters fill a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court.

The liberal-leaning Center for Justice and Democracy in New York City has decried the vast influx of so much special interest money into state judicial races.

Eighty-seven percent of the nation's state judges across 42 states must
compete in elections at some point in their careers, either in retention votes or against opposing candidates, wrote Joanne Doroshow, the center's director, and Stephen C. Halpern, a political science professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

"That these elections are now becoming as nasty, partisan and expensive as
any other electoral campaign is alarming," Doroshow and Halpern wrote. "It is a phenomenon that could have severe repercussions for our democracy."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us