In the last 10 years, the majority of Texas Supreme Court decisions have favored corporate interests over consumers, and the panel of judges has repeatedly overstepped its authority by overturning jury verdicts and interpreting the law to benefit the rich, according to a scathing report set to be released today by consumer advocacy group Texas Watch and reported by the Texas Tribune. “The Texas Supreme Court has marched in lock-step to consistently and overwhelmingly reward corporate defendants and the government at the expense of Texas families,” the report says.
Texas Watch says in its study, which reviewed court decisions in more than 624 cases in the past 10 years, that the trend started when Gov. Rick Perry began appointing Supreme Court justices in 2000. The report argues that data from court rulings shows that Perry's appointees “corporatized the court.” But the court, a former justice and conservative groups disagree with the report’s conclusions, arguing that a statistical analysis doesn’t provide enough context. The state’s highest civil court ruled in favor of defendants — mostly corporations and government entities — in about 74 percent of the 624 consumer cases brought before the panel in the last decade, according to the report. Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, said the high court's nine justices, who are all Republicans, are too similar to one another. Many represented corporations in court before they became justices, and 85 percent of the time, they agreed with one another.