Clint Eastwood: the long ramp to the empty chair

At Cato at Liberty, I write about how the Hollywood great’s experiences as a small businessman in California — in particular his encounters with abusive litigation and with the lawyers and politicians who decline to do anything about it — might shed some light on his much-talked-about speech last night before the Republican National Convention.

P.S. My 2008 post on lawyers who become presidents. Reason on Eastwood’s libertarian politics, and not to forget his views on gay marriage (“Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”)


  • It’s not necessarily abusive litigation . . . that’s where I’d beg to differ. I’d see it more as a business owner complaining that he got caught with an expense he doesn’t want to pay for, then blaming the lawyers. It’s a canard. There’s never any way to know if the complaint was legitimate without having worked on the case yourself. Attacking the Courts is the first step toward a rapid decline in nobody having remedies against the government itself, if you extrapolate far enough into the abstract.

  • While the ADA was being written in congress, I chaired a group of retailers trying to tighten up the requirements of the law to prevent situations such as encountered by Clint Eastwood and scores of other businesses, mostly mom & pop organizations. We were ignored; we have been proved right, to the point where an otherwise altruistic piece of legislation has been defiled by the unconscionable gaggle of scurrilous lawyers out to line their personal coffers rather than aid the disabled.

  • @JB: Nice attempt at sleight of hand, there.

    The problem isn’t with the courts, which normally just enforce the law. It’s with legislators who write sloppy law, who cannot see or even imagine unintended consequences. It’s also a problem when lawyers, looking for the buck no matter how, seek to enrich themselves by applying the letter and not the spirit of the law.

    Yes, attempts at delegitimizing the courts is a bad and dangerous things. But this is not that.

  • Lawmakers that make poor laws and courts that uphold them delegitimize themselves.


  • I am not being sarcastic, but I am curious: Short of repealing the ADA and ADA-AA, how would you rewrite–or have rewritten–the law to avoid the problems that Overlawyered (among others) have illustrated over the years?
    And is it too late to put the disabled genie back in the bottle (can the law be amended to make the definitions of “disabled” narrower) or is that impossible short of outright repeal of both laws?