Corporate Law in Delaware
The Chief Justice of Delawares Supreme Court has announced his
intention to increase court revenues through alternative funding
sources, including corporations.
In his State of the Delaware Judiciary address to Delawares
General Assembly in January, Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey warned that
limited state revenues were not adequate to pay for the businesslike
systems needed in Delawares courts, including innovative case
management systems and state-of-the-art court facilities.
The Judiciary must develop innovative programs and strategies to
meet needs that cannot be funded through traditional state budget processes
after the General Assembly has applied the maximum resources it is able
to provide, Veasey said.
In an administrative directive, Veasey formed a Blue Ribbon
Court Resources Task Force to find private sector funding sources. The
task force includes executives and attorneys representing DuPont, Burris
Foods, MBNA and Verizon.
The task force is also charged with examining the feasibility and ethical
appropriateness of using private sector volunteers and experts to
fill discrete and appropriate personnel needs of the Judicial Branch.
Critics say that while it purports to be seeking out a disinterested
balance of academic and other legal experts to fulfill its charge, the
task force revealed its elitist bias when it held its first meeting at
the exclusive Wilmington Club in January.
A public task force should meet in public places, says John
Flaherty of Common Cause. The judicial system is not a secret society.
More Burma Bans
More large U.S. retailers have joined the list of companies pledging
to stop importing merchandise from Burma because of human rights violations
in that country.
Mail order giant Spiegel Group, a U.S. mail-order retailer that owns
Eddie Bauer and other brands, announced the move in January in a letter
to the Free Burma Coalition.
We applaud the contribution that Spiegel is making toward human
rights in Burma, says Free Burma Coalition fellow Aung Din. No
company should support forced labor.
In November, a delegation of the International Labor Organization, an
agency of the United Nations, concluded after visiting the country that
forced labor still exists in Myanmar/Burma, despite an agreement by the
military-led government in 2000 to make forced labor illegal throughout
The U.S. State Department 2001 Country Report on Human Rights in Burma
concludes that forced labor, including forced child labor, has contributed
materially to the construction of industrial parks subsequently used to
produce manufactured exports, including garments.
Burmese apparel imports to the United States rose by 800 percent between
1995 and 2000. As a result of the countrys human rights violations,
a broad coalition of groups have pressured companies to stop importing
Value City/Filenes Basement, operator of 110 department stores,
also pledged not to import or retail goods from Burma in January. Meanwhile,
Denmark-based IKEA joined the growing list of boycotting companies, as
did Ames department stores.
Activists believe that Ames was one of the biggest importers of Burmese
goods into the United States.
World Bank Dams Uganda
In December, the World Banks Board of Directors signed off on the
controversial Bujagali Hydropower Project in Uganda, despite the fact
that there are ongoing internal investigations into the projects
compliance with the Banks own policies.
World Bank officials say the project is a key investment in poverty
reduction in Uganda, where less than 3 percent of the population has access
to grid-supplied electricity. The Bank approved a total of $225
million in loans and risk guarantees to the project and its commercial
But longtime critics of the project say the dam is a bad economic deal
for Ugandans, and will drive up tariffs for those already connected to
the grid. The dam will also alter Bujagali Falls, a culturally significant
natural heritage [See Falling for AESs Plan?, Multinational
Monitor, June 1999].
Meanwhile, the World Banks own Inspection Panel has yet to conclude
an ongoing investigation into the project.
And, critics say, Bank officials have refused to assess various alternatives,
including the development of Ugandas 450 megawatts of geothermal
Just one year after the World Commission on Dams report described
a better way to plan for energy needs, it is deeply frustrating that the
World Bank would choose to support another environmentally destructive,
economically risky dam that is likely to fail its development goals,
says Lori Pottinger of the International Rivers Network.
The projects hydropower station will be built, owned, and operated
by a subsidiary of the AES Corporation of Arlington, Virginia, one of
the biggest corporate recipients of World Bank financial support [See
AES: IFCs Corporate Welfare King, Multinational Monitor,