State supreme courts don't get nearly the attention the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) does. State supreme courts decide more mundane issues related to contract, tort and state procedural law, while SCOTUS decides the hot-button/culture war issues surrounding abortion, guns, the death penalty and affirmative action.
But while the media spotlight is not as bright on the state supreme courts, one should not forget that they decide cases that are extremely important to business interests, and business-driven special interests groups have made changing the composition of state supreme courts' one of their high priorities. The results have been deleterious, to say the least.
What exacerbates this situation is that many states are failing to properly regulate state supreme court justices who hear cases when there is a financial conflict of interest. The Center for Public Integrity has a new report out and it is not pretty. Forty-two states, including Texas, received a grade of "F" for their rules regarding financial disclosure by their states' highest judges.More »