Judiciary

Captured Courts: Senate Dems Call Out GOP For Assault On Judiciary

Read time: 3 mins

Under the cover of dark money from big donors and special interest influence, Republicans have stealthily extended their ideological agenda into what is supposed to be an independent federal judiciary, according to a new report released today from Senate Democrats.

The report, titled Captured Courts: The GOP's Big-Money Assault on the Constitution, Our Independent Judiciary, and the Rule of Law, examines a decades-long effort by conservative interests to “fix” the federal court system to serve their political agenda. This effort has accelerated under the Trump administration and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Amid Concerns About Trump's Authoritarian Bent, Oil Executive Calls for "Strong Rule of Law"

Read time: 9 mins

Harold Hamm, America's richest energy billionaire and the CEO of shale driller Continental Resources,  spoke at the S&P Global Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum last Thursday with an unusual message.

“We've got a President coming in that understands the rule of law, that understands business,” Mr. Hamm said.

Mr. Trump's promoters often cite his business experience. Mr. Trump, however, has rarely been praised for his understanding of the rule of law — which is the fundamental concept that the rules apply to everyone, from the most to the least powerful, and that governments must respect people's rights.

The Coal Industry Owns The Courts (VIDEO)

Read time: 2 mins

In early February 2014, Duke Energy reported that a coal ash storage site along the Dan River had crumbled, releasing more than 39,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the waterway. This was not the first time that Duke had been responsible for a massive coal ash spill, and most likely not the last.

In public, the company claimed that it is making all the necessary moves to clean up the mess and prevent future disasters. But behind closed doors, the company was hard at work making sure that its negligence would never hinder its profits. Duke Energy had been paying off the right people to prevent any meaningful form of punishment.

The post-Citizens United world has led to an enormous increase in the amount of money flowing to judicial elections, which was previously an area that very few corporations gave a second look. But with a green light to throw cash around now, they’ve realized that owning the Judicial Branch of American government is just as lucrative as owning a politician.

During the 2014 midterm elections, the state of North Carolina — Duke Energy’s base of operations — became a hotbed for judicial campaign spending. In total, an unprecedented $800,000 was spent on judicial elections by a group called Justice For All NC, with more than $300,000 of that total coming solely from Duke Energy.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) shows that elected judges are far more likely to vote in favor of corporations (those who funded their elections) than non-elected judges, explaining Duke Energy’s desire to pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into this campaign.

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