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Resolutions & Amendments

36th International Convention - Anaheim, CA (2004)

Take Back State Courts

Resolution No. 43
36th International Convention
June 21 - 25, 2004
Anaheim, CA


The judicial branch is an essential check of our three branch system. The judicial branch was created to interpret the laws of the states and/or nation; it was created to check potential abuses of power by elected officials; and


The judicial branch is the final interpreter of laws affecting the state and/or nation; those judges/justices elected to office hold the ultimate power over laws affecting average citizens; and


The elected judges of municipal, county and state supreme courts decide laws that could reach issues affecting the everyday life of its citizenry, e.g., utility regulations, insurance laws, medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability, fraud, consumer complaints, etc. It is of utmost importance that everyday citizens recognize the power these neglected elected officials hold; and


Since 2000, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a representative of corporate interests, recognized that it needed to address its growing concern of pro-consumer and pro-labor state court justices. In conjunction with major corporations, such as American International Group (insurance giant), Home Depot and DaimlerChrysler it raised and spent $46 million in state judicial elections or $430,000 per race to unseat pro-consumer and pro-labor state supreme court justices; and


This coalition targeted 24 judicial elections in nine states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and won 21 of the 24 elections it targeted. Consumers and labor face a difficult challenge of regaining consumer and labor-friendly laws; and


This coalition has eroded the checks and balances of the three branch system and placed in jeopardy all laws favoring and/or granting consumer and labor rights.


That AFSCME support an initiative to take back the judicial branch; that in places where justices are elected AFSCME encourage and participate in a coalition of consumer and labor friendly organizations that will target anti-consumer and anti-labor justices and unseat those justices that rule against our interests.


Ronald C. Alexander, President and Delegate
Kathleen Stewart, Secretary/Treasurer