Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Crook's Place Is In Court All Right

In Texas we really have a place in court for crooks. As Justice of the Supreme Court, that is. Justice Hecht got a bit of attention when he broke precedents by testifying in favor of his pal Harriet Miers' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Supreme Court justices are supposed to be apolitical, if you recall from your high school courses in civics and government.

With the crooks in the executive branch of government the politicization has occured on so many levels that we are forgetting about the standards we used to have. This Texas Justice has reached all sorts of new peaks, of the downward sort, in behavior. Now he's being charged with accepting bribes. It seems he gets a deep discount from the law firm that's defending him against charges of misbehavior - and making favorable rulings on their cases before the Texas Supreme Court, from which he should be recused.

Controversial Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht could once again find himself in a familiar role - defending himself against charges of judicial misconduct.

Consumer group Texas Watch yesterday announced it had filed charges against Hecht with three public agencies over "illegal discounts" from a law firm he hired. The complaints allege Hecht got $100,000 off a $440,000 bill by well known Texas firm Jackson Walker, which frequently appears before the Texas Supreme Court.

Hecht incurred the bill during his successful efforts to remove a misconduct sanction imposed on him last year by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC). The SCJC said Hecht should not have used his chambers to conduct press interviews boosting old friend Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005.

The complaints against Hecht are the first Texas Watch has brought in its 10-year history. "Justice Hecht's recent actions merit a full and complete investigation," said Alex Winslow, Executive Director of Texas Watch. "It appears that he has abused his position ... by negotiating a sweetheart deal."

Hecht's subsequent efforts to pay off the remainder of his bill have also attracted attention across the state. Most recently, records revealed that the justice had delivered favorable Supreme Court verdicts recently to law firms that had given to his legal defense fund, LNL reported.

In Texas justice is often a joke, and the state is trying to pass on this tradition to the federal level. It seems from the recent decisions of our U.S. Supreme KKKourt that the fix is in.



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