No Justice, No Rights

A diary at Daily Kos gives a good run-down on the Senate's 72-26 vote on Friday for the "Class Action Fairness Act." Clearly, the White House is just getting warmed up in its assault on the right of ordinary people who are victims of corporate negligence to have their day in court. Ah, whatever happened to that nice Ford Pinto?

The corporate lobby realizes the time is right for "tort reform" (a phrase badly in need of progressive re-framing). They pushed through a dangerous repeal of legal rights in Mississippi last fall (which, like Texas, they are holding up as a national model) and look close to doing the same in Georgia.

As others have noted, this is more than just your typical right-wing dismantling of measures that might reign in corporate wrong-doing. It's political, an attempt to inflict damage on a key Democratic fundraising base.

Last fall, Mississippi native Curtis Wilkie wrote a thoughtful piece in the Boston Globe about the special role of trial lawyers in the South. In a region where states advertise their "business-friendly climate" and lax regulations, trial lawyers have served as rare populist heroes and public advocates -- a voice for the "little guy."

The right knows this all too well.