Cornyn's trial lawyer opponent needs to revise and extend

Houston Chronicle Editorial:


Mikal Watts of San Antonio, a lawyer and candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator, has done the reputations of the courts and the trial lawyers no good.

As reported by the Chronicle's R.G. Ratcliffe, in 2001 Watts wrote to opposing counsel claiming that his firm's campaign contributions had won the hearts and minds of the justices on the 13th Court of Appeals, "all good Democrats." If Watts and his firm indeed gave campaign gifts with the expectation of influencing the court's decisions, it would constitute an illegal bribe. If Watts was just making an idle threat to intimidate a defendant in a lawsuit, he behaved unethically.

As a well- and largely self-financed candidate for high office, Watts owes voters an explanation: Does he think his campaign donations influence the outcome of cases? Regardless of the answer, Watts should explain to the voters why his outrageous claim does not violate the public trust and disqualify him from the office he seeks.

Voters may reasonably ask if the reason Watts has the ability to self finance much of his campaign is because of tactics like this. Tough negotiations are a part of the settlement process in litigation, but this appears to cross some lines.

It is too bad Democrats are not tough on dealing with our real enemies. Instead we see many of them arguing for a terrorist right to privacy in his communications with co conspirators.


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