Without commenting in detail on how Judge Scott Field sliced up Andy Wakefield’s petition against BMJ and Brian Deer it is interesting to note the line of patronage in the Texas court system. Field enjoys the endorsement of the Texas Civil Justice League Political Action Committee (TCJL) . Represented on the committee (Board of Directors) are many of the great corporations of the world including MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline in the person of Gaspar X Laca , who also enjoys the title of ‘Acct Director Govt Relations’ and has two addresses: one at GSK’s London Office and the other in Scottsdale, Arizona (which suggests he has less claim on the protection of the Texas court than Andy). If I understand Mr Laca’s profession correctly he is a corporate government lobbyist. Zoominfo quotes a now 16 year old report of Laca’s views (is this the most recent?):
“Glaxo-Wellcome's Senior Government Affairs Manager Gaspar Laca spoke about How to Become More Effective Advocates."If you want to become a true advocate, do it all year round."said Gaspar Laca, Senior Manger of Government Affairs at Glaxo.
“He said it is important to stay in constant communication with the elected officials.Laca suggests setting up appointments to meet with legislators or staying in touch through the mail.
“He said letters should be brief and to the point (three paragraphs will suffice).First, identify yourself as a constituent, and state whether you support or oppose a bill and then tell the lawmaker how you want them to vote.Second, state why the bill is important to you.And third, thank them.Short hand written notes are the best.
“Laca also suggests that advocates keep lawmakers informed by mailing them newspaper articles about pertinent issues.He said it is important to monitor a bill's progress and that it is easier to kill a bill than to pass one.He added that the best place to amend a bill is at the committee level.
As for public testimony, Laca recommends that it be short, direct, and factual.He said to distribute written copies of statements to committee members and if a committee member is absent, mail that person a copy of the testimony.After testifying, he said to be prepared for questions.”
TJCL PAC state as their mission:
“Texas businesses, health care providers, and trade and professional associations established the Texas Civil Justice League Political Action Committee (TCJL PAC) in 1986 for the purpose of supporting candidates for the Texas Supreme Court committed to the doctrine of judicial restraint and deference to the Legislature in matters involving new rights to sue. During that time the Court became the most plaintiff-friendly high court in the nation, earning the Wall Street Journal’s moniker, “the courthouse for the world.”
“The TCJL PAC has turned all of that around. Since the late 1980s, the Texas Supreme Court has become one of the most highly regarded and scholarly courts in the nation. Its opinions set the standard for the rest of the country. In addition, the TCJL PAC is the only statewide business PAC that supports judges and justices for the 14 Texas appellate courts, who decide more than 95% of all appeals. Finally, the TCJL PAC assists candidates for the Texas Legislature who support our goals for a fair, balanced, and efficient business liability system.”
This is not to say, of course, that Mr Laca intervened directly in any way in Judge Field’s decision, only that you would perhaps be more likely to get elected as a judge in the Texas court if you were sympathetic to the interests of global corporatism, and that many of the world’s largest corporations think it is worth their while to maintain representation on TCJL PAC. Whether, of course, we are in any way safer in the United Kingdom with our oligarchical appointments is another matter.
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.
(Note 2 February 2015: I am grateful to Jake Crosby for having drawn my attention to this issue.)