Law: Is Texas Justice for Sale?

The state's top judge resigns to fight for reform

When lawyers in the Pennzoil-Texaco multibillion-dollar battle turned to the Texas Supreme Court, they were not approaching strangers. Since 1980 Houston Attorney Joseph Jamail and his firm, Pennzoil's victorious counsel, doled out $248,000 in campaign contributions to the justices. As for Russell McMains, Texaco's chief appellate lawyer in Texas, he has donated some $40,000 to members of the high bench, and his former Corpus Christi firm gave $150,000 more. Such cozy bench-polishing tactics are not illegal, since Texas is one of only nine states where virtually all judges are chosen in partisan elections. It also has no limits on campaign gifts....

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