Of course, the corruption doesn’t stop at bought off politicians, as this Bloomberg report shows money corrupting court decisions. There’s a notable spike in the years after the Powell memo.
Intended to provide judges with outside perspectives, amicus briefs have proliferated in recent years. But sometimes these “friends” are the puppets of financial interests, and judges can’t always see who’s pulling the strings. When that happens, the briefs become a tool for well-funded litigants to try to tip the scales of justice.
Judges have allowed non-parties to appear as friends of the court for more than a century. But the volume of amicus briefs at the Supreme Court has doubled over the past 20 years, and more than 90 percent of cases the court hears now attract at least one. In the federal appeals courts, the share of cases with at least one amicus brief has doubled since 2010, according to data compiled by LexisNexis.