On the other hand, look at what
the Illinois Supreme Court did yesterday.
This decidedly “non-activist” state Supreme Court struck down a brutal
“cap” on compensation passed by the Illinois legislature in 2005 knowing full well that similar caps has already been struck down twice by that Court. The Illinois Supreme Court, citing its
obvious precedent, correctly declared the 2005 cap unconstitutional, as well.
Who’s complaining? Lots of conservatives, that's who. Let’s start with the Judge who
partially dissented in the case, Lloyd Karmeier, who was elected to the Court
in a nasty judicial election funded by conservative business interests – the
very interests that worry people like Toobin (“The much bigger implication of the decision is likely
to come in judicial elections” where “corporate
interests often have a huge stake in the outcome.”), former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and, ironically, once upon a time Justice Kennedy, who wrote the Citizen Union decision.
Here’s what the Center for Justice & Democracy wrote about the campaign that put Karmeier on the bench:
The [U.S. Chamber of Commerce] also poured $2.3 million into Circuit Court Judge Lloyd Karmeier’s (R) election campaign, mostly through the Illinois Republican Party and the Illinois Civil Justice League. “The Supreme Court race in Illinois is at the top of the list for the business community,” said Sean McBride, a spokesman for the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform. “We intend to spend considerable resources there.” Karmeier was elected in November 2004.
The Illinois Supreme Court made the right decision not only because precedent required this, but also because it was the right thing for Illinois and the country, particularly as medical lobbyists continue to try to put this misguided idea into the health care bill. "'The court's decision is great news for Illinois patients,' said Tammy Schilt of West Salem, who developed a severe infection after a sponge was left in her during the delivery of her son, Kelsey. 'Families like mine often rely on court-determined compensation in order to rebuild their quality of life after a devastating injury.'" We're just sad that young Martin Harnett did not live to see it.