Wrong bias

The SE Texas Record Dec. 8, 2007, 4:29am

In most Texans' view, "pro-business" is no pejorative. But pro-trial lawyer is.

For the latest reason why, witness the trial bar's recent efforts to chip away at the integrity of our State Supreme Court, painting its members as biased and unreasonably friendly to business interests.

The movement started back in September, when Justices Paul Green and Phil Johnson took member questions at a Dallas Bar Association event. The result was, well, a bit unbecoming, as plaintiff's lawyers on hand took occasion to drill the duo, suggesting in one way or another that they were bought and paid for by business interests.

One questioner even asked whether the court was purposely hunting for "plaintiff victories" in lower Texas courts just so they might overturn them.

The reality here is that plaintiff attorneys are usually Democrats, and the court is all Republican. It's stocked with nine GOPers, each elected by a majority of Texans to a six-year term because of their expressly un-Democrat world view.

That is, they believe their duty is to dispense justice for citizens, not mint generation-after-generation of mega-millionaire Texas lawyers.

So it goes that trial lawyer frustration with the court-- it hasn't been much concerned of late with facilitating lawyer-driven litigation-- translates into the court's being partial. Or, because the Supremes aren't favoring trial lawyers anymore, so they must be favoring someone else-- someone far less worthy.

Of course, trial lawyers never come clean about their own self-interest in such matters. Rather, they profess to be selfless in their anti-court crusading-- fighting not for the right to become the next John O'Quinn or Mark Lanier but for our rights. They aren't taking on these judges for them-- they're doing it for us.

"This is an anti-consumer court," a trial bar sympathizer recently quipped.

We know better.

The only "consumer" who should be worried about the the impartiality of men like Paul Green or Phil Johnson is the one who serves double duty as a put-up, professional plaintiff.

Bias is in the eye of the beholder. We know what we see.

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