Big Oil Tries To Buy Its Own Courts

June 27, 2023

Source: Lever News


When Texas oil and gas companies need to remove a legal roadblock to drilling, or answer for alleged wrongdoing, they head to court — and a bill that could be considered by the state legislature as early as Thursday would hand them considerable sway in picking the judges that hear some of their cases.

The state’s $200 billion fossil-fuel industry has thrown its weight behind legislation that would create a new system of district courts to hear certain disputes involving corporations. While 26 states already have so-called business courts, the Texas proposal has a unique feature: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been bankrolled by fossil fuel donors, would have the power to personally appoint judges, who would then serve two-year terms — a tenure that would let Abbott quickly remove judges if they deny favorable rulings to his supporters.

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