Letter to the Editor: Consider the source

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Monday, December 19, 2005

It is clear the American Tort Reform Association still has Illinois targeted for additional restrictions on citizens' rights to hold wrongdoers accountable for their deeds. As we learn from "Critics ease up on courts in 'judicial hellholes'" (Dec. 13), it released its annual "hellhole" report, this year naming Madison, St. Clair and Cook counties as judicial hellholes.

This year's rankings are as brazen as ever. ATRA, a corporate front group for companies and industries found negligent in court, is attacking those who are willing to hold them accountable. The hellhole designation is an effort to avoid responsibility by discrediting judges and juries that don't side with well-moneyed special interests.

With money and politics already dominating the executive and legislative branches, our court system is one of the only places left where individual injured citizens can successfully confront powerful industries and institutions, force changes in their dangerous behavior and seek justice. Unfortunately, this kind of publicity endangers this tradition, which has served and protected Illinois citizens well for more than 200 years.
Amber Hard
Center for Justice and Democracy

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