Friday, March 11, 2011

Corruption: Independent Expenditures in Judicial Races!

Anyone who thought that John Grisham's "The Appeal" was fiction should look at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which will undoubtedly be ruling on some pretty important issues in the near future.

Not really fiction:
How you can buy
a state court judge
It's an elected court. Four incumbents, lead by a guy named Prosser, voted in 2009 for a rule that "independent expenditures" in his favor do not require a judge to recuse himself from a case involving the guy who spent the money:

Now, any idiot can tell that if someone spends huge money in your election, he's going to expect something in return. The ethical standard for judges is not merely ACTUAL corruption; it is not the mere APPEARANCE of corruption; it is not mere ACTUAL conflict of interest; the standard by which a judge should recuse him or herself from a case is the APPEARANCE of a possible conflict of interest.

What kind of idiot would think that a judge who votes on a matter affecting someone who contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to support his campaign does not appear to have a possible conflict of interest?

Be serious. Is there a rational human being on our planet who sincerely thinks that a judge who has taken a wad of cash from someone might not APPEAR to have the POSSIBILITY of a conflict of interest?

Judge have to be more than objective; they have to appear to be objective - otherwise the system breaks. And it's not as if any the recusal of a judge stops the appeallate case. The law is supposed to be objective; if a judge recuses himself, no worry; there are six or eight others who can rule according to the law - without the appearance of a possible conflict of interest. Therefore, the ONLY reason a recused judge would want to vote on a matter where there is an apparant conflict of interest would be to cast a vote contrary to law.

By AMAZING COINCEDENCE Prosser is getting BIG MONEY for his election in April 2011:
I'm not going to tell Wisconsin voters whether Prosser is corrupt; that's something they can work out on their own. But I *am* telling voters throughout our nation to pay attention - our elected judiciary is in danger of becoming just another pack of sellouts.

EDITTED: as I predicted, an "independent expenditure" group from the Koch brothers is spending more than a million in the Prosser/Kloppenberg race, see "Koch Brothers' Heavy Hand"

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