"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Why Legal Reform is the Top Domestic Priorty

Writing for American Spectator, William Tucker lays out the standard case for tort reform in compelling fashion. Upon finishing the piece, readers will understand why the trial bar has become so interested in national politics and has long been active in local races. Although I have good friends practicing law (even personal injury law) and I have a J.D. of my own, I feel little more than contempt for the profession when I read remarks like these from tobacco lawyer Dickie Scruggs:

"[W]hat I call the "magic jurisdiction,…[is] where the judiciary is elected with verdict money. The trial lawyers have established relationships with the judges that are elected; they're State Court judges; they're popul[ists]. They've got large populations of voters who are in on the deal, they're getting their [piece] in many cases. And so, it's a political force in their jurisdiction, and it's almost impossible to get a fair trial if you're a defendant in some of these places. The plaintiff lawyer walks in there and writes the number on the blackboard, and the first juror meets the last one coming out the door with that amount of money.… The cases are not won in the courtroom. They're won on the back roads long before the case goes to trial. Any lawyer fresh out of law school can walk in there and win the case, so it doesn't matter what the evidence or the law is."

The legal profession has yielded a portion of itself to simple extortion. It's time for action at the federal level. Regulating lawsuits in this way is not an exercise in big government because it is only the coercive force of government that allows this sort of injustice to continue.

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