So what? Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White that judicial impartiality has always been a myth. “A judge’s lack of predisposition regarding the relevant legal issues in a case has never been thought a necessary component of equal justice, and with good reason,” he wrote. “For one thing, it is virtually impossible to find a judge who does not have preconceptions about the law.” This argument, surely, is the backbone behind Justice Willett’s eagerness to let everyone know where he stands. He’s just putting it out there because the First Amendment says he can.
And, of course, to note that Justice Willett seems to have ignored his ethical requirements to appear impartial to the litigants before him doesn’t necessarily prove that he’s been partial to one side or another. I’m not accusing him of anything. For that, we have to the Texas Watch Foundation, a non-profit organization “dedicated to fair and open access to the civil justice system for all Texans.” The folks at Texas Watch have been watching the state judiciary since 1996 and earlier this year they issued a report titled “Thumbs on the Scale: A Retrospective of the Texas Supreme Court.”
The report is startling for many reasons — including the fact that it demonstrates how much more radical Gov. Rick Perry is than George W. Bush was when it comes to shaping the Texas Supreme Court to mesh with corporate interests. In the decade of civil consumer cases between 2001 and 2010, a decade dominated by Gov. Perry’s judicial appointments, Texas Watch found “on average, defendants won an overwhelming 74% of their cases and plaintiffs have won just 22% of the time… Since 2005, consumers have lost an astonishing 79 % of their cases before the Texas Supreme Court.”
Read More: The Atlantic