Bought Justice - corruption in courts

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Bought Justice – corruption in courts

Bought Justice – corruption in courts

Dylan Ratigan-

Janus Capital Chairman Emeritus Landon Rowland is worried about the corrupting influence of money in politics. This is not so unusual, except for two factors. Rowland is a mild midwestern businessman, the type of sober fair minded moderate who doesn’t express concern lightly. And Rowland’s concern isn’t bought politicians, but bought judges. Rowland believes that corruption in our courts, as usual spearheaded by money in elections, is slowly wrecking our economy. What makes America a great place to do business is the certainty provided by a world class court system that makes sure the rules of the road apply to everyone equally. This, he believes, is now in jeopardy.

I’ve written before about the unholy alliance of business and state that sells our elections and our legislative process to the highest bidder. That same unholy alliance is corrupting our courts through a deep and effective campaign to buy off judges the way that our politicians have been purchased. Rowland pointed this out in a 2009 op-ed opposing a significant change in the way that Missouri judges are chosen. Currently, the state has a nonpartisan commission of experts that screen judicial candidates, and then the governor picks among them. The electorate gets to vote judges out of office through “retention elections”. This protects the independence of the judiciary, and ensures that judges don’t have to go begging to corporate interests for campaign solicitations. This “Missouri Plan” was implemented to ward off machine corruption in the 1940s, and is so successful that it is in use by 24 states.

[DYLAN RATIGAN]

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