Industry buying judicial favor

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.