Industry buying judicial favor

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In the past decade, big business has funneled millions of dollars into private seminars for federal judges, many of whom are increasingly handing down judgements hostile to environmental and consumer interests. That’s no coincidence, according to a study out today from the COMMUNITY RIGHTS COUNSEL. Sen. John Kerry announced today he would seek a ban on such special-interest funded trips.

According to the report, the corporate-funded jaunts, pitched as “activism seminars” or “judicial education,” inculcate the judges with anti-environment sentiment and “free market” solutions to environmental problems. In one case, a judge ruled one way on a major piece of environmental legislation, attended a seminar, and then changed his vote. In six other cases, judges attended junkets while a case invoving the industry or corporation which funded the trip was pending before the court — and in half of those cases, the judges ruled in favor of a litigant bankrolled by one or more of seminars’ sponsors.

The CRC’s study and searchable database, available at TRIPSFORJUDGES.COM, details the big three industry sponsors of the junkets and specific cases of apparent improper influence.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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