As the Smoke Clears, Philip Morris Ruling Questioned

On December 15, the Illinois Supreme Court threw out a $10.1 billion verdict against Philip Morris and its parent company, Altria Group, saying they did not mislead consumers when advertising "light" cigarettes. The Chicago Tribune reports that Philip Morris' lawyers "contributed $16,800 to help elect a judge who cast a deciding vote" in the case. Judge Lloyd Karmeier "also received $1.2 million in campaign money from a group that filed an amicus brief supporting the cigarette-maker." The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, "which also filed an amicus brief in support of Philip Morris, contributed $269,338" to Karmeier's campaign. Yet Karmeier did not recuse himself. The court's press secretary said Karmeier "has tried to insulate himself from knowing the identities of campaign contributors and would not allow campaign contributions to have any effect on his ruling in this or any other case."