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Monday, November 26, 2007

Breaking News: Politicians Like Money, Even the Ones Who Wear Robes

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 10:53 AM

The Plain Dealer's front page today carries a lengthy story about the Ohio Supreme Court and all the cheese justices have to rack up in order to keep their seats. The state's top judges campaign hard to stay on the bench, and rack up millions of dollars from contributors in the process. As a result,
"The integrity of the system is at stake," said Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who worries the general public overwhelmingly believes judges can be bought. He insists that perception is not reality, but says: "The system has to change."
Moyer does not go on to explain why us silly folks in the general public so overwhelmingly feel this way, so I'll do it for him: According to an analysis by the New York Times, Ohio's Supreme Sourt justices, between 1994 and early 2006, accepted $1.6 million from contributors who later were involved in cases before the court. And guess what? The judges time and again declined to recuse themselves from the cases. And guess what? The judges time and again ruled in favor of the litigant who gave them money. It's the polite thing to do, after all. To his credit, Moyer, a Republican, has not quite earned his varsity letter in Being a Total Whore. He's among the few justices who have recused themselves, and he sided with his contributor only 60 percent of the time. Meanwhile, Justice Terrence O'Donnell is making a case for the Total Whore Hall of Fame. According to the Times review, in his 32 cases involving campaign contributors, O'Donnell ruled for the wheel-greaser 91 percent of the time. He didn't recuse himself once. In the PD's story, some judges suggest it might be time to consider tweaking the system. O'Donnell, if you're wondering, thinks it's just fine. -- Joe P. Tone
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