Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Limits on Justice

In light of my last post, I've decided that by saying/writing the words "tort reform" (damn, I did it again), I play right into the hands of the GOP message-meisters who make their living spoonfeeding this crap to the ignorant masses. Therefore, from now on, every time you'd expect me to say "tort reform" (and may that be the last time) I will say instead "limits on justice." I feel that phrase a little more accurately describes what we're dealing with.

Let's try it out, shall we? First I'll GoogleNews the magic words "tort reform" (arrrgggghhh) and see what it spits out. Well. Look at that. Ezra's article from the last post is the first hit. Let's move to the next one.

Texas, Georgia and even Mississippi have all passed [limits on justice] to improve their economies and stop the exodus of doctors. But now bidding to take their place as a favorite trial lawyer destination is the previously sensible state of Wisconsin, led by its Supreme Court.
Seems to describe things a bit better, no? How about the next hit?
Eva Johnson, 55, the last of the initial 12 Fayette residents charged last year in an IRS/FBI fraud investigation of bogus Fen-Phen claims, was sentenced last week before U.S. District Judge William Barbour to 31 months in prison and was ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution.
OK. If there is fraud going on, of course you'd prosecute, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because someone's abusing the system doesn't mean we need to eliminate the ability of a person to punish an entity that would otherwise simply budget any penalty assumptions into their bottom line. Next? Subscription only. Oh well. Next? This one's from the Insurance Journal so I think we better just ignore it (I'd ignore an article from Trial Lawyers Weekly too in case you're wondering). Next?
At the top of the list: [limits on justice] and tax cuts.

Shielding businesses from lawsuits was one of Bense's priorities last year, but House and Senate negotiators weren't able to agree on much. They did approve measures to curtail lawsuits against companies that make products with cancer-causing asbestos and to protect utilities from lawsuits stemming from broken streetlights. Even so, one House staffer derisively referred to the overall results as "[limits on justice] lite."

House Republicans also fell short of their goal to eliminate Florida's intangibles tax -- the charge on investments paid by the state's wealthiest residents -- settling instead for repealing half of it.
That kind of sums it up, doesn't it? Limiting justice, taking away the little guy's right to recourse, coupled with a nice fat tax cut that benefits only the wealthy. What fun this is! Let's try again.
Forget pay raise, we need [limits on justice]

Rivers of ink have been devoted to the pay raise passed earlier this month by the members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly - and it can only be good for the cause of representative democracy to have the actions of the Legislature in the limelight.

Far more important issues confront Pennsylvania, though, than the compensation of our state officials.
Sort of subscription only, but we see enough to get the general idea. In any case, I think that "limits on justice" is descriptive, subversive, and has a nice ring to it. Please do try this at home.

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