In the weeks before the election, Justice ODonnells campaign accepted thousands of dollars from the political action committees of three companies that were defendants in the suits. Two of the cases dealt with defective cars, and one involved a toxic substance. Weeks after winning his race, Justice ODonnell joined majorities that handed the three companies significant victories.
Justice ODonnells conduct was unexceptional. In one of the cases, every justice in the 4-to-3 majority had taken money from affiliates of the companies. None of the dissenters had done so, but they had accepted contributions from lawyers for the plaintiffs.
Thirty-nine states elect judges, and 30 states are holding elections for seats on their highest courts this year. Spending in these races is skyrocketing, with some judges raising $2 million or more for a single campaign. As the amounts rise, questions about whether money is polluting the independence of the judiciary are being fiercely debated across the nation. And nowhere is the battle for judicial seats more ferocious than in Ohio.
The courts decisions, the study found, were rife with potential conflicts. In more than 200 of the 1,500 cases, at least one justice cast a vote after receiving a significant campaign contribution. On scores of occasions, the justices campaigns took contributions after a case involving the contributor was argued and before it was decided just when conflicts are most visible and pointed.
St. Petersburg Times, published September 12, 1998:
Republicans were aghast at Clinton’s behavior, with many saying it showed he had lied and abused his power.
“It’s vile,” said Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach. “It’s more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction.”
Sometimes a web page is so brilliant you have to post about it on your own weblog, and this time there’s really no way to excerpt, so against my habitI’m quoting in full. Join me in applauding the author of this piece:
Signing statement, given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign, and the year of our Lord 1215.
John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting.
We have today signed into law the Articles of the Barons granting to all free men of our Kingdom, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out therein, except insofar as those may be rendered inoperative in accordance with the exceptions noted hereinafter.
Section 12 of the Articles says that “No ‘scutage’ or ‘aid’ may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter.” Inasmuch as our esteemed consort Isabella of Angoulême is our junior by a full score of years and may therefore bear more than our present four offspring, should our eldest surviving daughter at the time of her marriage be one of a pair of hypothetical future twins, we shall construe the parenthetical “once” to apply equally to each and therefore to entitle each to a separate and equal marriage, and permit us to compel “aid” for both.
In following Sections 30 and 31, which state that “No sheriff, royal official, or other person shall take horses or carts for transport from any free man, without his consent”, and “Neither we nor any royal official will take wood for our castle, or for any other purpose, without the consent of the owner”, we shall implement these provisions in a manner consistent with our constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch, requiring that decisions on provisioning of transportation and refueling of law enforcement officers in the execution of the laws are a part of the executive power vested in us, and accordingly, we shall construe these articles as advisory rather than mandatory.
Section 38′s proposal that “In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it”, to the extent that the charges made relate to access to classified national security information, we shall construe this provision in a manner consistent with our exclusive constitutional authority, as head of the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief, to classify and control access to national security information.
Trial By Jury
In regard to Section 39′s suggestion that “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land”, we shall construe the provision in a manner which is consistent with our nation’s traditional constitutional commitment to us of responsibility for conducting and protecting the security of our beloved homeland against all foes, foreign and domestic, and shall consider these provisions only advisory in cases of those determined to be enemy combatants or supporters thereof or apologists therefor, especially rumor-mongering free-lance town criers or wandering scribes.