Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Arrogance of Wealth and Power

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Arrogance of Wealth and Power

Article excerpt

America enjoys the most democratic, populist system of justice in the world -- a system that was conceptually envisioned by our founding fathers and gradually, grudgingly achieved against the resistance of entrenched and powerful economic forces over the past 200 years. Such struggles between concentrated economic power and ordinary people have been waged over the centuries, always with difficulty. And such struggles, once won, must continually be defended against those who would reverse them.

Oklahoma is witnessing today an attempt by powerful forces to undo many of the advances won by ordinary working people in our courts. These powerful enemies of justice are mounting a campaign to limit, if not deny, court access to the economically disadvantaged.

This group, which has emerged under various false flags over the years, would deny justice to ordinary people by abolishing or limiting contingency fee contracts. They would deny ordinary people without extensive financial resources access to the courts by dictating what kind of fee agreement could exist between the client and his attorney. And, perhaps most frightening, they would use their economic and political might to disseminate propaganda and misinformation about judicial office holders and candidates. The current group, which employs these devices as a means of returning to a more patrician system of justice, is carefully hidden in the belly of a latter day Trojan horse under the banner "Oklahomans for Judicial Excellence." Using a biased and unscientific survey form that was sent to all practicing attorneys in Oklahoma, this group has launched a statewide campaign of judicial intimidation. This special interest group wants our blindfolded Lady Justice first to peek, and then to tip the scales in favor of the interests they represent, wealthy corporations. Oklahomans for Judicial Excellence would be more accurately named "Oklahomans for Prejudicial Excellence." This group's "survey" has little to do with educating the public regarding the qualifications of judicial officers. Rather, it solicits information such as whether a judge is typically more favorable to an employee over an employer, or whether a judge sends issues to a jury rather than ruling summarily for a defendant. …

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