Speaker Joe Straus released the committee assignments for members of the Texas House today. There has been much shuffling and turnover in the House coming into the session. So, just how do the members of key committees rank on our latest scorecard based on key votes from the last legislative session? Take a look. (more…)
Curt Koenning with the self-styled Texans Against of Lawsuit Abuse recently implored Texans to heed the call for jury service. In an area of rare accord, we agree. Citizens must participate in the jury system. It is a fundamental civic duty and the foundation of our judicial system. But… (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?)
Mr. Koenning’s exhortation is pure hypocrisy. (more…)
What is it about industry lobbyists that they can’t help but talk out of both sides of their mouths? They made a pack of promises to you, the voters, in 2003 about what they alleged would happen if voters approved a ballot proposition that severely and arbitrarily restricted the legal rights of Texas patients. Among them was that what you spend on health care would go down. All you had to do was agree to give up your ability to hold a careless nursing home, negligent hospital, or dangerous doctor accountable in court. Turns out, they lied. Now, they are trying to cover their tracks.
The Texas Supreme Court has a profound effect on the everyday lives of Texans. It is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state. But according to a scathing report released this week by the advocacy group Texas Watch, over the last 10 years, the majority of Texas Supreme Court decisions have favored corporate interests over consumers. And the panel of judges, according to the report, has repeatedly overstepped its authority by overturning jury verdicts and interpreting the law to benefit the rich.
Listen: Texas Public Radio (Texas Matters, Segment 3)
Last August, ThinkProgress highlighted a Texas Watch report showing that the Texas Supreme Court “sided with consumers in 27 percent of cases involving an individual against a corporation or government agency — and it reversed jury verdicts in 72 percent of cases.” A new report by that same organization shows that the court’s favoritism towards corporations is now even worse.
Read More: ThinkProgress
Woe is the injured consumer or medical patient in Texas who brings a lawsuit against a big corporation or the government. A new report out from the nonprofit advocacy group Texas Watch has taken a hard look at more than 600 decisions by the Texas Supreme Court over the past decade and found that consumers and plaintiffs are routinely taking it on the chin. And consumers are losing far more often in the court than they were before short-lived GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry became governor.
Since 2005, consumers have lost nearly 80 percent of Texas Supreme Court cases in which a consumer was pitted against a big corporation or the government. Most of the time, the consumer plaintiffs had already prevailed before a jury—the high court overturned jury verdicts in 74 percent of consumer cases, with very little dissent.
Texas Watch attributes the massive scale-tilting to the fact that the court is now dominated by judges who were appointed by Perry starting in 2000. Six of the nine judges on the all-Republican court were initially appointed by Perry. In Texas, the judges are elected, but when a vacancy occurs, a governor can appoint a judge to fill out the remaining term, a move that all but guarantees the judge will prevail in the general election. And in Texas, Republican judges who’ve wanted to retire have often done so mid-term, allowing Perry to appoint their replacements.
Read More: Mother Jones
Over the last decade, Texas politicians and lobbyists have enacted a series of devastating legal changes that severely restrict the legal rights of individuals, families, and small businessowners. These changes have made Texas a more dangerous place in which the value of accountability has been discarded.
Here are our picks for the Terrible Texas 5, a sampling of the worst of the corporate immunity agenda in our state. (more…)