Wednesday, December 13, 2006

For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2006
Contact: Joanne Doroshow or Laurie Beacham

Consumer Group Condemns Vicious Report Attacking Texas Judges

New York, NY – The Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) today called the American Tort Reform Association’s “Judicial Hellholes 2006” report attacking judges in Texas’ Rio Grande  Valley and Gulf Coast, “vicious and undemocratic, not to mention dishonest and ungrounded.”  In its report released today, ATRA launches a ferocious attack on fair and independent judges based on the apparent views of its members that include polluters, tobacco companies, and the insurance industry, among other industries. 
“Coming just weeks after elections in which voters soundly rejected judicial candidates backed by ATRA and other corporate-backed groups, this report is sheer nonsense, and certainly out of touch with the American public,” said Joanne Doroshow, Executive Director for CJ&D.  “What’s more, it is a shameful violation of the very foundations of our democracy.  The American public does not want judges to have to look over their shoulder to calculate how their decisions might play with corporate-backed special interest groups like this.”  
Doroshow added, “ATRA believes that rulings by judges that hold industries accountable are bad for the Rio Grande Valley and Gulf Coast of Texas economies, when, in fact, the opposite is true. These areas, and others targeted by ATRA, are experiencing great job and business growth, while being called “Hellholes.” See, Facts About ATRA’s So-Called “Judicial Hellholes,” http://centerjd.org
According to Doroshow, “With money and politics already dominating the executive and legislative branches, our court system is one of the only places left in America where injured citizens can successfully confront powerful industries and institutions and stop misconduct.  The last thing we need are bogus attacks from groups like ATRA that threaten judicial independence, a cornerstone of our democracy, for the sake of restricting legitimate lawsuits against corporate wrongdoers.” 

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