Kia Franklin

“Tort Reform Panic on the Right?”

Here's an excellent blogpost, entitled "Tort reform panic on the right?" that demonstrates, once again, that the fight for civil justice is by no means a partisan issue. Mark Wahlstrom of Legal Broadcast Network criticizes the tort "reform" agenda and laments the general buy-in of the Republican party, pointing out that many people have been duped into voting against their interest in a strong civil justice system.

Here's a highlight from his post, which responds to another author's article about the presidential candidates and their potential to embrace tort "reform" policies:

As a Republican who often refers to himself as to the right of Reagan who thought Goldwater was a lefty, I have been sickened by the wholesale sell out of the Republican party to the tort reform lobby. The huge piles of cash thrown at them by The Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers associations, drug companies, casualty insurance companies and others has causeed a collective sell out that is only matched by the influence railroads and robber baron's had in the US prior to Teddy Roosevelt ascending to the Presidency. As I often say, any true conservative, or any true American knows, that our fathers, uncles and brothers didn't die in foreign lands so that we could surrender our right to access the courts and obtain compensation for injury just to save $4 on my auto insurance bill. Tort reform has been one of the most intellectually dishonest and massive campaigns to rob American's of their rights and freedoms since the founding of this country. Keep Reading

Wahlstrom observes that, thankfully, more people are wising up to the harmful effects of tort "reform" on the lives and legal rights of ordinary Americans. On the Hill, this means more reluctance to embrace new pushes for tort "reform." It also means that more stealth tactics, such as preemption efforts, have become necessary to advance the corporate lobby's agenda.

But I remain skeptical as to whether political leaders will ever go so far as to affirmatively embrace an agenda to restore our rights and strengthen the civil justice system, and I think the FISA capitulation is the most recent peice of evidence that supports my skepticism. But as we begin to circle back to the issue of a Pro Civil Justice Presidential platform I hope more voices like Wahlstrom's will weigh in on that.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 12, 2008 in Debunking Tort "Reform" | Decision 2008 | Elections/Voting | Framing Tort "Reform"
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I have been saying the same, here. He is missing something however. The statutory and constitutional removal of the obstacle to compensation for the millions of victims of the carelessness of lawyers and judges with unlawful, unjust, unjustifiable, self-dealt immunities. Why is the court house door slammed in their damaged faces? What is the policy justification for immunizing incompetents, with every goal of every law subject in utter failure, save one? Rent seeking.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | August 13, 2008 5:28 AM

I'm not surprised that there is the occasional person on the right who is skeptical of tort reform effort. I have a friend on the lunatic left who is very pro-Obama but also pro-tort reform.

The issues in American politics are not completely homogeneous to either side of the political spectrum - there is a wide array of issues and one winds up picking and choosing and assigning priorities to the various issues. I think tort reform is very important as the current tort system sucks the life out of the American economy; therefore, it becomes a priority in supporting candidates. Others give the issue lower priority.

Posted by: Avenger | August 13, 2008 6:58 AM

here's where we agree: i too am not surprised, although it is nonetheless refreshing to read his perspective. and i agree that it absolutely shouldn't be a partisan issue, and absolutely should be an issue that gets high priority this election.

here's where we disagree: i find that the source of our economic woes is a business culture that privileges big industries to the detriment of hardworking small business owners, regular American consumers, etc. the tort system comes into play when corporate culture goes so far that people get hurt and must turn to the courts for redress.

of course, in addition to strong courts we need effective laws and honest political leaders that make sure businesses are operating fairly and not abusing the consumers that make our economy go 'round.

thanks for the comments.

Posted by: Kia | August 14, 2008 2:50 PM