19 Jul 2010

The Appeal -- The Review

I just read The Appeal by John Grisham. The plot involves a big chemical corporation that pollutes the water in a small town, such that many die of cancer. The story develops as the corporation tries to fix an election of a supreme court judge, so that this same judge can support their appeal against the scruffy lawyers who took on the major corporation and won the original case finding them guilty of willful pollution. I'll leave the details for you to discover, but Grasham puts his finger on the problem of elected judges here [p 296]:
It's unseemly how they [judges] are forced to grovel for votes. You, as a lawyer representing a client in a pending case, should have no contact whatsoever with a supreme court justice. But because of the system, one comes to your office seeking money and support. Why? Because some special interests with plenty of money have decided they would like their own seat in the court. They're spending money to purchase a seat.
Bottom Line: Read it and weep. Justice for sale does not serve the people. Judges should be appointed, not elected. (Same goes for sheriffs!) I give this book FIVE STARS for its excellent blend of fact and fiction, too close for comfort. (Others may not like it for its unhappy ending, but such is life...)


TragerWaterReport.wordpress.com said...

There are problems with both ways of getting judges. Appointed judges then think of themselves as gods who can do no wring, restructuring society on a whim. Look at the U.S. Supreme Court since FDR packed it.

County sheriffs are different and should always be elected. They're supposed to represent the people against not only criminals, but against the federal and state governments. Granted, there are abuses. But see Sheriff Mack:

Eric said...

If judges are appointed, they will be appointed by politicians who were elected. Hence the term 'political appointment.' The appointed person owes their appointer until the appointer leaves politics then owes no one.

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