Tom Phillips, a former chief justice on the Texas Supreme Court, has a strong opinion of the state’s judicial elections. “Of the ways you can elect judges,” he said, “Texas has one of the worst systems.”
In 1988, when he ran for the state’s highest court, he voluntarily capped individual donations to his campaign at $5,000. Today, his law firm — which regularly represents clients before the state Supreme Court — routinely donates tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of the justices who preside over those cases.
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