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A Very Dangerous Supreme Court, Sponsored by Exxon Mobil

February 9, 2010 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Says Unlimited Corporate Spending on Elections Will Corrupt Democracy

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited corporate political spending on elections is so dangerous that I cannot resist sharing my political views on the topic. I’m just a civil justice lawyer. But since I only help people in catastrophic accidents such as very serious car accidents and truck accidents, what the conservative judges did is very alarming.

The reasoning of this decision is inherently flawed and the consequences are detrimental to the public good.

In politics, there is very often a “public good.” In other words, there is an act or legislation that will benefit many. And too often, that “public good” is ignored — defeated by narrow special interests that give large sums of money to influence political candidates. Ask most people what frustrates them most about politics, and it seems the influence and power that lobbyists and special interests have on frustrating what is clearly the public’s best interests ranks at the top.

And now it’s about to get so much worse.

While conservative talk radio always rails against “activist judges” (read liberal), claiming they ignore binding law, our current Supreme Court, dominated as it is by conservative Republican appointees, has done far worse by now allowing almost unlimited corporate donations in politics.

This is the clear message: The current U.S. Supreme Court has now reversed rulings by previous Supreme Courts, and has decided that Jefferson and our Founding Fathers wanted giant corporations to have the same political rights as any individual citizen. Among those rights is now the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to affect the outcome of political elections.

So much for a government of, by and for the people. Who knew that we would have a government of, by and for insurance companies and big corporations?

Consequences Hit Close to Home: Michigan Courts

In Michigan, the consequences have trickled down to our own Supreme Court. I look at the damage here caused by four conservative, ideological justices. Michigan has no punitive damages, and as a result trucking companies are more dangerous and hire more unsafe truck drivers than in other states that punish companies for negligence.

Insurance companies treat people terribly in Michigan, because we also do not have bad faith laws to protect them. Think of it like this, considering New Orleans just won the Super Bowl on Sunday: If State Farm and Allstate Insurance Company still face exposure for hundreds of millions of dollars in claims denied in bad faith in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina (which they do), these insurance companies can now spend millions of dollars to elect politicians who are more interested in campaign donations than protecting the rights of those who are poor and usually don’t vote in elections. If a candidate wants to hold these corporations accountable, or judges are to rule in a pending legal case, they can spend millions to recall that politician or unseat that judge.

I have watched how in the past 16 years, a majority of four Michigan Supreme Court justices — elected by the insurance industry — followed an activist, political agenda and gutted decades of existing Michigan law that has made the state more unsafe. They have essentially dismantled our entire civil justice system.

No one can compete with special interest money as it is in politics. The public good has and continues to be ignored on so many clear-cut issues. Now, in a huge body-blow to our Constitution and the future of this great nation, special interests can run endless commercials, negative ads, and robocalls to influence future elections.

It’s astonishing that these justices seem to believe politicians are not corrupted by big money. Did we not just witness how only a few U.S. Senators who take millions of dollars from health care and insurance companies can completely obstruct health care reform in the U.S.? And this is with the Obama administration making a deal with Big Pharma, knowing they could never compete with the money and political power that Big Pharma has — even though just letting insurance companies negotiate across state lines for pharmaceuticals would save billions of dollars that could benefit every American citizen.

You can read a recent New York Times article for its take on the dire political consequences of the bitterly divided 5-4 decision. Judges Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito threaten to fundamentally cripple the democratic process in America. Shame on them.

Steven M. Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Michigan Auto Law has received the largest reported jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in seven of the past 10 years, including 2009, according to published year-end verdicts and settlements reports.

Related information:

3 Challenges Facing Michigan Car Accident Attorneys Today

Dealing with Your Auto Insurance Company

Mistakes that Can Kill Your Car Accident Case

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with an auto accident attorney. We can help.

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