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The damage that trial lawyers have done to industry and, more recently, to medical service is appalling. The common gripe about many of the trial lawyers who play the personal injury field is that they are greedy creeps, who misuse the legal system to add money to their wallets and notches on their guns.
That may be, but I would argue that there is a more harmful effect from their gaming the system: it diminishes the respect for the rule of law.
Compare us to a number of other countries that have copied their constitutions from ours, but which have nowhere near the same level of freedom and protections that we enjoy. It seems that it is not our Constitution or “democracy” that separates us from the third world, but rather it’s our respect for the rule of law.
We elect our leaders by a set of laws, and we expect those leaders to uphold all of our laws. We even play a wide range of sports-more so than other countries-according to formal rules, in a make-play extension of our respect for the rule of law. Above all, we expect that those in positions of power and influence will not manipulate laws to gain undue advantage over us, or in spite of us.
It’s disturbingly commonplace to hear that our legal system has become a joke. The Menendez brothers and Simpson trials in California; judgments for people who are fearful that they might get asbestosis; breast implant judgments based on junk science; and the judgment for a woman who, through her own carelessness, spilled hot coffee on herself are just some of the legal stories that the public notice and digest. Stories of venue shopping and paying off “witnesses” add to the notion that the legal system can be manipulated quite easily.
Additionally, I believe, rightly or wrongly, that being able to punish another person (human or corporation) in a civil court is a serious flaw in our legal system. Persons should have a right to recover losses, but only the state should have the authority to punish and to receive any fines from such punishment, and that punishment should be judged in a criminal court.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?