Justice for the highest bidder? (Editorial)
Take the courts out of politics
During the brutal 2004 campaign in southern Illinois for a seat on the state Supreme Court, an investigator for a group of trial lawyers waited patiently outside the Okawville, Ill., campaign office of Republican candidate Lloyd Karmeier each garbage day.
Karmeier's campaign staff dropped plastic bags of trash in the public area between the sidewalk and the street — and the investigator collected it. He methodically searched the contents for intelligence about the financing and operation of the campaign.
A number of printed email messages showed how political pros ran the Karmeier campaign and business interests contributed heavily to it. One email from a political operative informed the judge that he had "passed all the tryouts we need." Another tied the campaign to a pro-business group that included State Farm Insurance as a member. Still another said that the judge needn't worry about an upcoming interview with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce because leaders of that group were active in other organizations that backed Karmeier.