Nov 182007

I must have missed something. I don’t know what inspired the recent spate of articles about the selection of judges, but there are a couple of new articles, both informative and insightful.

It started with Sandra Day O’Conner’s article in the WSJ, which I blogged about here.

Paul Jacobs has an article about the judicial selection process in Missouri: Where do judges come from? He points out how it’s a conflict of interest to have judges and trial lawyers (especially trial lawers) appoint the judges. He proposes letting the people back into the process by letting the voters choose a commission to select judges. Too bad Sandra Day O’Conner didn’t think of that one.

If there was any doubt about whether the organization representing lawyers should be allowed to control the process, George Will shows what happens when trial lawyers are allowed to have conflicts of interest, such as when they buy victims to be the principle plantiffs in class action suits, and then share their ill-gotten gains with the political party that supports them:

Does political money flow toward beliefs or do beliefs move toward money? Much scholarship strongly suggests the former. Democrats are rewarded for their devotion to trial lawyers, but there is another reason why they are disposed to devotion. The problem is not that Democrats are “bought” by trial lawyers. The problem is that Democrats, who see victims everywhere, are actually disposed to believe the narrative of pandemic victimization of investors.

Milberg Weiss turned that narrative into gold, which it shared with Democrats. Since 1980, the firm’s partners have given more than $7 million to Democratic candidates, and an additional $500,000 to help build the Democratic National Committee’s new headquarters.