How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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And what was the financing of the judge who certified the original class actions in State Farm and Philip Morris? This is the chutzpah of the apocryphal murderer of his parents who asked the court for mercy because he was an orphan.


It's actually worse than that chutzpah, because Karmeier's opinions had a basis in law, while the lower courts' class certifications didn't.

E L Eversman

Wait a minute, Ted. What is at issue here is the ethics of participating as the deciding vote caster in two specific cases. This is not about funding. It's not about whether the certification decision was correct. This is about ethics and Due Process. No one has said that Justice Karmeier did something wrong by taking campaign funding. What people have said, myself included, is that J. Karmeier had no right to partipate in decisions that involved his donors. Take a look at the standards for when judges should recuse themselves created by the committee on judicial standards that J. Karmeier co-chaired in 2001. You'll find that he disregarded the very standards he helped create, and that disregard has done serious harm to public confidence in the judiciary.

I agree with you that the class should not have been certified at the trial court level. However, I don't (nor do I think you do) condone unethical behavior to achieve a desired result. Focusing on who funded Karmeier's opponent and the issue of class certification obfuscates the real issue -- ethical conduct. It deserves better and more meaningful discussion than you've given it, and, frankly, it's about time lawyers, judges, politicians, and everyone else placed a higher value on ethics.


I said absolutely nothing about the funding of Karmeier's opponent—though it's certainly relevant to the question of whether those who funded Karmeier did so because he was the only candidate in the race who could be trusted to administer the law fairly.

I didn't even say anything about the merits of the appeal; I've consistently spoken out against elections for judges, and I've consistently spoken out in favor of heeding Hamilton's warnings in Federalist No. 80, so your insinuations are misplaced.

What I did point out was the utter hypocrisy of those who raise the claim. I further object to the double-standard whereby actual conflicts of interest are ignored when they benefit plaintiffs' attorneys while invented conflicts of interest are trumpeted to the high heaven (such as the phantom controversy over Scalia teaching a seminar to members of the Federalist Society) when they involve conservative judges. While I do not yet take a position on this case, too often, the allegation of a perception of bias is being used to bootstrap a claim that the fact the allegation was made requires recusal, which is a misreading of the relevant provisions.

But what remains entertaining is the underlying hypocrisy: who funded the trial court judge who issued the blatantly incorrect decisions that 5-2 and 4-2 majorities overturned? Who funded the judges that oversaw the theft and attempted theft of billions of dollars in Madison County over the last few years? (And who abused the Illinois disqualification procedures in the Philip Morris case to get an unfavorable judge off the case?)


To clarify: "the utter hypocrisy of those who raise the claim" refers to the actual appellants, not to Ms. Eversman.

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