Overruled


Arguments in Judicial Bribery Case Tomorrow
March 2, 2009, 10:19 am
Filed under: Ian | Tags: ,

I intended to write a long post about Caperton v. Massey, the judicial bribery case being argued tomorrow in the Supreme Court, but I really don’t think the case lends itself to a nuanced discussion.  The facts of that case involve a $50 million jury verdict against A.T. Massey Coal Co., and in favor of a rival company.  Rather than pay the $50 million, or appeal the case honestly to the West Virginia Supreme Court, the CEO of Massey Coal spent $3 million to elect a friendly lawyer to the West Virginia Supreme Court, and this bought-and-paid-for lawyer won his election, refused to recuse himself from Massey’s appeal, and cast the deciding vote overturning the verdict.

So Massey paid $3 million to buy a judge, and saved $50 million as a result—a 1667% return on its investment.

As I said, there really isn’t much nuance to this case.  If corporations are allowed to buy and sell judges like they were some kind of investment, we might as well scrap any illusions that we have laws in the first place.

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