Friday, December 29, 2006

Obama and the Trial Bar

AEI's Ted Frank has an interesting post at Point of Law about Barack Obama and the trial bar. Bottom line: does Obama's voting history show that he will side with the trial lawyers or with reformers on key civil justice reform votes:

In one of his first votes, Obama voted for the eminently sensible Class Action Fairness Act. This hypothetically annoys the litigation lobby (though they can be expected to support Edwards in 2008) and the cast of usual suspects who opposed the bill; one can also find various members of the lunatic left thoughtlessly buying the litigation lobby hype that this minor procedural reform protecting against abusive forum shopping by the plaintiffs' bar had much larger consequences, and thus expressing outrage against Obama for voting for it.

So Obama may have annoyed the lunatic left with his vote for CAFA. As a reform supporter, I'm far from convinced that this makes him someone willing to cross the plaintiffs' bar. Eighteen other Democrats also voted for CAFA. CAFA would have passed the previous Congress, except for its unfortunate timing arising just as Edwards had been named the vice-presidential nominee; Democrats fell into line and filibustered the bill to avoid having a civil justice reform pass at the same time, which might remind people of Edwards's unsavory means of acquiring his fortune on the backs of pregnant mothers and obstetricians. Obama didn't participate in the negotiations to get Democratic support, and he voted for every Democratic attempt to eviscerate the bill with amendments. Obama didn't break with the Democrats on any seriously contested tort reform measures: he filibustered medical malpractice reform, and was one of the votes to kill the asbestos reform bill (which effectively failed by one vote). Obama claimed to support medical malpractice reform in his Senate campaign (or, at least, made pro-reform swing voters think that he did), but, then, so did Kerry and Edwards in their 2004 presidential campaign.
So, Senator Obama, just where do you stand?

Original post by Curt Mercadante at Illinois Justice Blog.


Anonymous,  2:13 PM  

Congress should seek to hold negligent wrongdoers accountable. Yet this act does just the opposite: it places obstacles to accountability by providing fewer incentives for companies to keep their products safe and their actions fair and by creating mechanisms to delay and ultimately deny justice to injured consumers.

The bill calls for increased judicial scrutiny of "coupon settlements" in which plaintiffs sometimes receive only low-value coupons in compensation for their injuries, as well as settlements in which plaintiff class members suffer a net financial loss.

We need a congress suportive of the people, not the lobbyists retained by corporate interests to ensure a class action bill favorable to their interests, according to Public Citizen:

IllinoisCivilJusticeLeague 5:47 PM  

Anon...please see my response at

Anonymous,  10:14 PM  

Who cares what Obama stands on this or any issue.
He is positive and brings optimism and hope to our country.
He gave good answers on Oprah, I don't know what he stands for but I like what he has to say.
I feel positive and optimistic.

Milton 12:10 PM  

The physicians who support tort reform need to remember the Hippocratic Oath, by which they swore to do no harm.

And the medical community and our lawmakers should be working together to address the real cause of malpractice - incompetent physicians - and not just the symptoms.

It's not about lawyers. It's not about greed. It's about the rights of everyday people who suddenly find themselves victims of preventable medical errors.

It's about the man who had the wrong leg amputated.

It's about the woman who had an unnecessary mastectomy because of a false cancer diagnosis.

It's about the baby who will have to live with cerebral palsy and mental retardation because of a mismanaged labor and delivery.


--- Prof. Leland Milton Goldblatt, Ph.D. ®

We are weaker because of the Iraq war! (The war based on lies.)

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