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How Texas Supreme Court Justices Raised $11 Million

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C. Justices’ Top Overall Donors

  Contributions   No. of
Employer/PAC To The Justices Interest Checks
Vinson & Elkins $287,680 Defense Firm 344
Baker Botts $214,913 Defense Firm 622
Fulbright & Jaworski $176,890 Defense Firm 302
Bass Family $168,000 Oil/Gas 48
Susman Godfrey $137,250 Defense Firm 71
Thompson & Knight $118,609 Defense Firm 197
Locke Purnell Rain Harrell $112,873 Defense Firm 125
Bracewell & Patterson $107,275 Defense Firm 137
Enron Corp $103,108 Oil/Gas 54
Haynes & Boone $95,485 Defense Firm 83
Liddell Sapp Zivley Hill & LaBoon $93,175 Defense Firm 83
Hughes & Luce $91,971 Defense Firm 87
Texas Society of CPAs $85,200 Accounting 27
Texas Medical Assn $78,313 Medical 30
Strasburger & Price $77,500 Defense Firm 37
Gardere Wynne $71,700 Defense Firm 99
Jackson Walker $70,300 Defense Firm 38
Mayor Day Caldwell & Keeton $69,450 Defense Firm 46
Andrews & Kurth $67,190 Defense Firm 105
Texas Assn of Defense Counsel $65,500 Defense Firm 18
Ware Snow Fogel Jackson & Greene $64,500 Defense Firm 20
Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons $60,850 Defense Firm 29
Clements O'Neill Pierce & Nickens $59,382 Defense/Plaintiff Firm 35
H B Zachry Co $59,250 Construction 76
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld $58,575 Defense Firm 45
TOTAL $2,594,939   2,758

Funding for the political campaigns of sitting Texas Supreme Court justices is highly concentrated. The accompanying table shows how much money the nine justices raised in their last elections from the PACs and employees of the 25 top sources of Supreme Court campaign dollars. These 25 sources account for 14 percent of all the checks the justices received; together they contributed $2.6 million—or 24 percent of all the money that the justices raised.

Business law firms and the defense firms that typically represent business interests before state judges are the dominant source of Supreme Court campaign cash. Led by the triumvirate of Vinson & Elkins, Baker  Botts and Fulbright & Jaworski, business and defense firms account for 19 of the Supreme Court’s top 25 sources of campaign money. The recent merger of Locke Purnell with Liddell Sapp also catapults Locke Liddell into these ranks. There are just five leading sources of campaign money on this list that are not law firms. All five of these other top sources of campaign cash are the very kinds of business interests that hire defense firms to fend off plaintiff lawsuits. In contrast, the top plaintiff firm, Perdue Clore & Perdue, contributed $35,000 to the justices. This firm ranks as the 61st largest source of their campaign cash.

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