Thursday, March 4, 2010
NYT On Campaign Cash and the Ohio Supreme Court
At it's website the New York Times has republished its fascinating, deeply-researched look at the "purchase" of the Ohio Supreme Court by corporate and monied interests. One of the Justices featured in the story is Terrence O'Donnell, (pic) a former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas and Court of Appeals judge. One of the more intriquing stories about Judge O'Donnell was omitted from the NYT article.
According to sources in Cleveland, the media there reported a number of years ago that Justice O'Donnell was parked outside of a saloon in the Cleveland party bar area called the "Flats" when more than ten-thousand dollars cash was stolen out of his car. At the time Judge O'Donnell had already migrated from the Cuyahoga bench to the Ohio Supreme Court. Cleveland laywers long speculated on how or why (1. a Justice of hte Ohio Supreme Court got +$10,000; and (2. why this amount of cash would be left in a dark parking lot outside of a bar?
Justice O'Donnell is according to the NYT, a reliable vote contra to consumer and plaintiffs interests. No surprise, you get the Judges you deserve in Ohio, or pay for--well, that seems to be the lesson. The Adam Liptak and Janet Roberts article in the Times is much more than a collection of anecdotes, the report looks at the decisions of the Ohio Supremes which consistently breakdown along predictable lines based on corporate campaign receipts, reminiscent of the Caperton v. AT Massey Coal Company decision discussed here at Bad Lawyer in December. I am told that Ohio lawyers are not surprised at the what the Times has discovered about their Supreme Court, what Ohio lawyers are surprised at is the failure of Ohio voters to make the same discovery. But, isn't that the point of money?
Money is free speech, right?