TorteDeForm

Kia Franklin

Bill to Codify Corporate Privilege—I mean, “Retroactive Immunity Bill”

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Remember in the news there was talk about big hefty political donations from telecom execs to Senator John D. Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee who emerged last week as the most important supporter of retroactive immunity for telecom co's that spied on people? Well, organizations and individuals who believe in Americans' right not to be spied upon, and who believe that when we are illegally spied upon we should be able to take our snoopers to court, are not standing for it. All over the blogosphere you can see a growing movement against the retroactive immunity bill and what it stands for in terms of corporate privilege/accountability.

So if all these groups have something insightful to say about this, why should TortDeform add it's two cents? Good point--but here are the pennies anyway:

This issue is particularly important from a civil justice perspective, particularly when you think of the implications of giving a company legal immunity simply because it can:
a) say "the government told us to do it,"
b) say "we didn't know it was illegal," and/or
c) pay the decisionmakers enough to actually listen to arguments a) and b) and then actually grant them immunity for breaking the law and violating people's Constitutional rights.

The timing--amidst legal actions that are making promising ground for the privacy rights of American citizens--is a classic case of corporate privilege. Also classic is this quote by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker defending access to the courts over this issue. He wrote:

"AT&T's alleged actions here violate the constitutional rights clearly established [by the U.S. Supreme Court]... AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal." (Quote provided by NoRetroactiveImmunity)

This retroactive immunity bill nonsense demonstrates why we can't prioritize business interests (in this case, an interest in not being forced to pay for breaking the law) over people. You would think that if their actions truly weren't illegal, their "we didn't know, the government made us do it" argument would hold up in court. But to go to their Congressional cronies and ask for "amnesty" is a disgracefully perfect example of why we need a strong civil justice system that is equally accessible to individual citizens and doesn't just work well for big corporations who can buy their way out of any wrondgoing. Or, as the No Retroactive Immunity group aptly puts it:

The rule of law is the basic guarantee in our society that all Americans are treated equally. Amnesty for big business is an assault on that principle. To grant retroactive amnesty would be to announce that our wealthiest corporations are free to break the laws we pass, and amnesty would be yet another huge step in eroding our core political principles.

I encourage readers to check out the other blogs and news stories on this issue. See, for example:


NO IMMUNITY FOR LAWBREAKING COMPANIES-- ARE YOU LISTENING, HARRY?
(DownwithTyranny)
Please Sign a Petition to Harry Reid on Telecom Immunity(Firedoglake)
We Write Letters (Eschaton)
Tell Harry Reid: No Retroactive Immunity! (The Seminal)
No retroactive immunity(Greg Prince's Blog)
Onward to Harry Reid on FISA (OpenLeft)
Sign The Petition | Tell Harry Reid No Immunity (Out of the Mountains)

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 2:46 PM, Oct 25, 2007 in Civil Justice | Corporate Abuse | Corporate Lawsuit Amnesty | Corporate v. Human Citizenship
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Comments

Re-asserting immunity for some segment of the population is a central concern. It used to be that public officials enjoyed "sovereign immunity" in the performance of their official duties, even if they performed them negligently or poorly. The Federal Tort Claims Act of 1947 put an end to that and the civil/consumer rights legislation of the '60s put the nails in the coffin.
Privatization has largely been an effort to anchor immunity in another venue--behind the shield of patent law and "proprietary information." That's why this is a REALLY BIG THING.
The even more basic issue is the principle of equality. Most people, even conservatives, pay lip service to the assertion that "all men are created equal" even as they try their darndest to prove that it isn't so. The ability to evade or rise above the law is a signature characteristic of the elite.
What we've got here is a struggle between the equal and the elite. The outcome will determine whether democracy is just a selection process of the foundation of the rule of law.

Posted by: Hannah | October 26, 2007 7:39 AM

"The ability to evade or rise above the law is a signature characteristic of the elite. What we've got here is a struggle between the equal and the elite."

AMEN!

Posted by: Kia | October 26, 2007 5:19 PM

AAA arbitration makes it clear even boast Rules, Oath, ethic, and fair. During arbitration Home owner is not only totally deceived but insulated, falsity accused, slandered and disrespected. Arbitration and contractor literally laughing, Any attempt to rebuttal you are stopped by the arbitrator and told only answer with yes or no. My evidence was as good as one could get.Even if one did not believe a word my Witness aand I said the contractor never even called let alone start job. AAA award so malicious that it would be hard to make up.
. AAA MALICIOUSLY used award to give perception that father breached contract and benefited [Yes Benefited] Using date Sept. 15 not even in contract and months after work was to be complete, to award AAA/client $5,000.00 nominal Damages Both AAA and client profit. Talking to AAA Home owner asked about perjury charges for contractor lie under oath. AAA said they do nothing and never have Stating " everyone lies". At the time my son was 3 years old and did not even know what a lie was, but AAA has already condemned him. AAA also denied all complaints even explanation of date not in contract.. AAA boldly said No Attorney dare fight against AAA. AAA will not even resound to any matter to this case. Case Closed.


AAA Client plead GUILTY to HOME REPAIR FRAUD AAA maliciously slanders Victims/Single Father, 4 and 9 year old then making victims pay AAA client/Contractor Guilty of Home Repair Fraud $5,000.00 plus AAA arbitration fees. Yes AAA makes the victims pay $5,000.00 to AAA/client the criminal plus arbitration fees. AAA false statement also used against THE STATE OF ILLINOIS Winnebago County States Attorneys Office to get AAA/clients indictment charges dropped. Even with AAA fraud statement maliciously slandering single father ,4 and 9 year old was not enough Father has overwhelming amount of evidence also full investigation by one of the top 20 in the fortune 500 which will back father 100% on fraud charges. All based on facts. AAA/client PLEAD GUILTY TO HOME REPAIR FRAUD. FACT PROVE from victim. Full story more malicious then one would make up. AAA award 5/12/2006 AAA denied all father request and complaints telling father NO ATTORNEY DARE FIGHT AGAINST AAA. Father has been fighting alone since 5/12/2006 and has been able to get Full Investigation ,Warrant issued, charges, 2nd investigation indictment and on 5/5/2008 A plea of Guilty by Indictment from AAA/client for Home Repair Fraud.. [Winnebago County Illinois Court Case 2007 CF 01469] Overwhelming facts. NO BUT ANDS OR IF ABOUT IT. Family lost over $37,000.00, B Better living conditions, been Falsely Accused, Family Name Slandered and had to Pay AAA fees and AAA client Guilty of Criminal/fraud $5,000.00 Father will now fight against Goliath

Posted by: Joseph | July 3, 2008 12:28 PM

AAA arbitration makes it clear even boast Rules, Oath, ethic, and fair. During arbitration Home owner is not only totally deceived but insulated, falsity accused, slandered and disrespected. Arbitration and contractor literally laughing, Any attempt to rebuttal you are stopped by the arbitrator and told only answer with yes or no. My evidence was as good as one could get.Even if one did not believe a word my Witness aand I said the contractor never even called let alone start job. AAA award so malicious that it would be hard to make up.
. AAA MALICIOUSLY used award to give perception that father breached contract and benefited [Yes Benefited] Using date Sept. 15 not even in contract and months after work was to be complete, to award AAA/client $5,000.00 nominal Damages Both AAA and client profit. Talking to AAA Home owner asked about perjury charges for contractor lie under oath. AAA said they do nothing and never have Stating " everyone lies". At the time my son was 3 years old and did not even know what a lie was, but AAA has already condemned him. AAA also denied all complaints even explanation of date not in contract.. AAA boldly said No Attorney dare fight against AAA. AAA will not even resound to any matter to this case. Case Closed.


AAA Client plead GUILTY to HOME REPAIR FRAUD AAA maliciously slanders Victims/Single Father, 4 and 9 year old then making victims pay AAA client/Contractor Guilty of Home Repair Fraud $5,000.00 plus AAA arbitration fees. Yes AAA makes the victims pay $5,000.00 to AAA/client the criminal plus arbitration fees. AAA false statement also used against THE STATE OF ILLINOIS Winnebago County States Attorneys Office to get AAA/clients indictment charges dropped. Even with AAA fraud statement maliciously slandering single father ,4 and 9 year old was not enough Father has overwhelming amount of evidence also full investigation by one of the top 20 in the fortune 500 which will back father 100% on fraud charges. All based on facts. AAA/client PLEAD GUILTY TO HOME REPAIR FRAUD. FACT PROVE from victim. Full story more malicious then one would make up. AAA award 5/12/2006 AAA denied all father request and complaints telling father NO ATTORNEY DARE FIGHT AGAINST AAA. Father has been fighting alone since 5/12/2006 and has been able to get Full Investigation ,Warrant issued, charges, 2nd investigation indictment and on 5/5/2008 A plea of Guilty by Indictment from AAA/client for Home Repair Fraud.. [Winnebago County Illinois Court Case 2007 CF 01469] Overwhelming facts. NO BUT ANDS OR IF ABOUT IT. Family lost over $37,000.00, B Better living conditions, been Falsely Accused, Family Name Slandered and had to Pay AAA fees and AAA client Guilty of Criminal/fraud $5,000.00 Father will now fight against Goliath

Posted by: Joseph | July 3, 2008 12:29 PM

No Attorney dare fight against AAA. Learning the law in detail the
past few years has been very disturbing. Learning the very one taking
the oath to uphold the law care so little to fight to uphold the law.
Look for yourself if one would be prosecuted for breaking the oath as
they did to Martha Stewart much corruption would be eliminated. No
lawmaker would dare spout off false allegations. But lawmakers
constantly spout off false allegations. Lawmakers use the perception of
immunity. It is just perception. Look how far the willingness can go.
Willing to point breach of contract and use date not even on contract.
A date months after the job was to be started and completed. Willing
too accuse the victim of benefiting from a criminal that took more than
$37,000.00 Willing to AWARD the criminal $5,000.00 a unjust award. AAA
willingly knowingly maliciously stating no responsibility to victims
but willing to let more and more people be victimised. Ask AAA about
Honor, Respect, truth and justice. Has the Fee been paid? Go to
---. We have immunity.

Posted by: joseph | August 18, 2008 10:44 PM