Bush Sinks the SCHIP

President Bush has chosen political ideology and the corporate health insurance industry over the health and well-being of America’s most needy and vulnerable people, our children. In a stealthy and cowardly move to avoid the news cycle, at 7:30 PM last Friday the Bush Administration sent states new restrictions for the State Children’s Health Insurance … Read more

Tort Reform™ is an Attack on Constitutional Rights

I wrote yesterday
on damage compensation caps, marketed under the trade name Tort Reform™ by the
GOP, and the damage it does to those harmed by medical and other
negligence. But the ideas behind Tort Reform™ also raise serious
and fundamental challenges to the role of the jury in the
administration of justice and protecting American freedoms.

not alone in this opinion. James Madison said that trial by jury “is as
essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the
pre-eminent rights of nature.” Yet the right to have the facts of a
civil dispute, including compensation, decided by a lay jury, is so
offensive to corporate interests that they would have you believe that
our best and brightest are unable to design safe products, deliver
quality medical care, or perform a host of other activities unless we
gut one particular of our Bill of Rights – the Amendment VII, which

”In suits at common law, where the value in
controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury
shall be preserved…”

The right of access to jury to
determine the facts is a basic human right that goes back to the Magna
Carta in our own culture’s immediate history, and back to the Greeks
and the Romans during some of the earliest civilized periods of human
history. For all that time citizenship has included the unimpaired
right to have the facts of your plight, including the necessary
remedies, decided by a sample of your peers. “Juries represent the
layman’s common sense and thus keep the law in accord with the wishes
and feelings of the community,” said USSC Chief Justice Rehnquist (in
one of the few instances that I agree with him wholeheartedly).