the absurd observers

Friday, February 18, 2005

Curbs on the state court system

President Bush today signed into law a measure that gives federal courts jurisdiction over class actions in which any plaintiff is from a different state than the defendant corporation. Republicans, probably correctly, believe this will reduce the number of large class action settlements where the lawyers make off like bandits and the people who actually suffered get very little.

The way the law works is that it shifts cases that otherwise would appear in state courts, where judges usually have ot run for re-election, to federal courts where the judges are appointed for life by the President. The presumption is that federal judges are less likely to certify ridiculous, meritless class actions that force corporations to pay millions of dollars in settlements rathner than incur the even greater costs and risks of proceeding to go to trial. The unstated claim is that federal judges are more honest and competent than the state court judges who regularly certify such class actions.

Ironically, the states most notorious for having the most ridiculous class action settlements are all Southern, bible belt states. Thus, by signing this law, Bush is essentially saying that people from Southern, bible belt states are incapable of electing politicians who will perform honestly and competently when in office. Since without these states, Bush never would have been elected, what does that say about the nature of his administration?


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