By Alex Winslow - Texas Watch - March 29, 2007
AUSTIN – Court Watch, a project of the Texas Watch Foundation, released its tenth annual list of the most anti-consumer decisions handed down by the Texas Supreme Court during the Court’s 2005-2006 term. Called the “Terrible 10,” this list reflects the Court’s pro-defendant bias against Texas families, homeowners, seniors, and small businesses.
This is Court Watch’s tenth annual review of the Texas Supreme Court. Over that time, Court Watch has highlighted the Court’s pro-defendant bias by conducting a statistical examination of the Court, as well as discussing legal trends. Over the ten year history of the Court Watch project, the Court has ruled in favor of defendants an average of 70% of the time.
“For ten years, Court Watch has been monitoring the Texas Supreme Court’s decision-making. We have highlighted various trends and spotlighted specific cases. One thing remains consistent: the Texas Supreme Court is ardently pro-defendant and Texas families are paying the price,” said Alex Winslow, Executive Director of the Texas Watch Foundation.
Lawmakers are considering legislation to consolidate power in the hands of the Texas Supreme Court. Winslow urged lawmakers to maintain judicial accountability and impartiality.
“Local judges in communities all across our state should not have to fear that the pro-defendant Texas Supreme Court is going to intervene in a local matter,” said Winslow. “Local voters elect the judges that they think reflect their values. We should maintain our current system of judicial accountability.”
Included on this year’s Terrible 10 list are cases that allow employers to fire workers for reporting criminal activity to the police, shield nursing home operators from accountability when senior citizens are abused by other patients, force individuals into binding arbitration, allow predatory lenders to skirt the law, and dramatically alter the way that jurors are screened. The report also highlights several legal trends that emerged during the 2005-2006 term.
“The Texas Supreme Court touches every facet of our lives,” said Winslow. “It is disturbing that this Court continues to bend and contort their decisions to favor wrongdoers over individual Texans.”
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