Court Watch is a non-partisan, public education, non-profit organization “dedicated to fair and open access to the civil justice system for all Texans.” In a study the organization published in 2012, the record is clear. The Texas Supreme Court is corrupt, partisan, especially after appointments made by Governor Rick Perry.
Court Watch concludes:
“Far from upholding equal protection under the law, the Texas Supreme Court has disproportionately favored corporate and state wrongdoers, regularly rewarding those who cheat, injure, and kill at the expense of those who have been harmed through no fault of their own.”
TexasCourtWatch.org monitored the Texas Supreme Court and tracked its votes for ten years, from 2000-2010. The results could not be more dismal for consumers.
Texas Supreme Court Corrupt, Partisan
The Texas Supreme Court grossly favors corporate and business interests over those of ordinary citizens. Consumers lost 79 percent of the cases in which they faced off with corporations. The Texas Supreme Court overturned jury verdicts for plaintiffs in a shocking 74 percent of the cases it heard. In addition, the justices agreed with one another a mind-numbing 90 percent of the time. That’s not justice; that’s a rubber stamp for corporations.
Court Watch also concluded that in looking at the voting records of Governor Rick Perry’s picks for Texas’ high court, “it becomes clear that they have a strong and unmistakable prejudice against consumers.”
One might ask, “Why?” The short answer is easy, all-too familiar: “Money.” Here’s one example:
After Texas Supreme Court justices received a combined $724,863 from the oil, gas, electricity and chemical industries (Judge Don Willett hit the trifecta with more than $190,000), the justices reversed a lower court award and ruled in favor of Entergy (Entergy Gulf States v. Summers), declaring that an injured employee can’t recover damages from a negligent employer responsible for a dangerous work environment that harms the employee.
Texas Court Watch wrote:
“Rather than operating in fidelity with the law to bring about justice, the Texas Supreme Court has marched in lock-step to consistently and overwhelmingly reward corporate defendants and the government at the expense of Texas families.”
Follow the Money
Corporations get the judges’ decisions they pay for. One study showed that corporations that donate more than $25,000 get wins more than 19 percent of the time than consumers who lack the deep pockets to buy the justice they deserve.
See: Justices in Activist Entergy Ruling: See this News Release from Texans for Public Justice.
Texas needs change. Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott made a fortune when he sued a homeowner after a tree fell on him. He collects tens of thousands of dollars a year for his old lawsuit. Here’s the punchline: he’s now a champion of so-called “tort reform” which is ostensibly an attack on trial lawyers, but in reality is a duplicitous ploy to keep injured people from accessing the court room. Abbott is the ultimate hypocrite. He got his injury settlement, and now he wants to prevent any other Texan from getting one of his or her own.
Texans don’t need a bitter emotional cripple barring them from access to the courthouse. Hell, even if one of us gets in and wins some sort of award, the Texas Supreme Court is there to reverse the justice a jury found about 80 percent of the time.
The balance has swung so wildly right for corporations in Texas that it is patently absurd. If the state of Texas Justice were a pinball machine game, it would have registered “Tilt” a long time ago and ceased to function altogether. The problem is that, unlike a kid in an arcade, Texas adults and children are stuck with having to play the same tiresome game over and over again with Texas’ corporate-corrupted judiciary.